2 men in custody after standoff at Irvine megachurch

- Two brothers were in custody Thursday after barricading themselves in an Irvine megachurch, armed with rifles, but their motive was still unclear.

Brothers Paul Vincent Vielkind, 24, and Brandon Joseph Vielkind, 22, of Riverside were arrested and booked on burglary and felony vandalism charges, Irvine police said.

The pair were reported entering Harvest Church, in the 17600 block Gillette Avenue, at about 7:10 p.m. Wednesday, Kim Mohr of the Irvine Police Department said.

A SWAT team was activated and the suspects surrendered around 9:20 p.m., she said. Authorities were still clearing the scene around 11 p.m.

The suspects' motive was unknown at this point, police said. Anyone with information on the brothers was asked to call Irvine police at (949) 724-7000.

Riverside-based Pastor Greg Laurie is the head of the nondenominational church. Since the break-in Laurie has posted a message about the crime to his congregation on Facebook.

"You may have heard on the news about a break-in at our Church in Irvine, Harvest Orange County. There is not much I can tell you at this point except the following:

"Two men who were thought to be armed broke into the Orange County Harvest church building last night. Police were notified and on the scene within minutes. After a brief search and standoff, the suspects were found in the building and apprehended. No one was injured in the process. There was no known motive for the break-in but there were some minor damages to the building. We are grateful to the Irvine police for their quick response.''

"Harvest continues to work with local authorities to assess the motive and intention of these criminals,'' Laurie said. "We are confident the situation is resolved and all our service and programs will continue as normal, but we are taking additional security precautions for the foreseeable future.

"We appreciate the extraordinary work of the local authorities and are thankful to God for the prayers and abundant support of our community. The fact that the situation was resolved so quickly attests to the professionalism of the Irvine Police Dept. and also to the safety we already had in place as a congregation,'' Laurie said.

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