Dressed in his black Carhartt work suit, Ryan Kubicina circled a squat brick building in the hard-luck Lykins neighborhood with a can of paint and a brush. It was spring 2008.
He'd just finished covering up the gang graffiti when he heard a strange rumbling coming from within the former Holy Trinity Church school at 10th Street and Myrtle.
Kubicina walked along the building, its uniform windows looking as browned-over as a chain smoker's windshield. Next to the door on the most secluded side, he saw a pile of broken glass.
He peeked inside and saw a haggard, bearded 40-something man thrashing about with a club, bashing and shattering sinks and urinals, sending porcelain shards skidding into the corners and spraying water across the bare concrete floors with a wild violence.
Kubicina called the police from his cell phone. A man was there, he said, right now, destroying his building and stealing copper. He'd just spent months and thousands of dollars installing the new plumbing.
"And please be advised," he told the female dispatcher, "I'm going in."
She talked him down. He backed away to keep the entrance clear. After the man had reduced the bathroom to debris and dust, Kubicina heard only ominous silence. Then, with a series of loud metal-on-metal clangs, the man stacked parts in a crate. Then silence again.
Standing in the street a few houses down, Kubicina saw the man emerge, straining under the weight of the wrecked plumbing. He was headed down the street in Kubicina's direction.
"Hey, man! How's it going?" Kubicina called. "My name's Ryan. Haven't seen you around here much. Just, um, curious — do you have your driver's license on you or anything?" He looked at the box. "What are you doing with all that metal?"
"Oh," the man said, looking back over his shoulder. "It was in that Dumpster."
"And you have permission to take it out of the Dumpster?"
"Yeah, man, I talked to the people over there. They gave me permission to just take it."
"Really?" Kubicina said incredulously. "So you didn't just get that metal from the building?"
"Uh, no, man," the man answered. He was getting cagey now, looking around. "What are you doing, man?"
"Well, unfortunately, I can't let you take that metal. Because I know exactly where you got it. Because I'm one of the guys who helped install it."
Kubicina was gathering boldness. "So you're going to have to drop that right now. And just to let you know, the police are already on their way."
If the man had a gun or a blade, now was the time he'd show it, Kubicina thought. Instead, the man dropped the box with a metallic thud, grabbed a 30-pound chrome urinal flusher and attacked.
Kubicina jumped back. The swing's momentum made the man stagger. He recovered, wound up and heaved the makeshift weapon.
The fixture caught Kubicina's hip, but he didn't look down or feel it. He saw the man falling toward him. Kubicina stepped forward and landed a punch just below the man's throat.
The man jerked backward, turned and ran down Myrtle toward 11th Street. Kubicina chased him. Neighbors came out onto their porches, yelling bloody hell at the scene. Kubicina stayed on the man's heels until he scurried into an abandoned house.
Kubicina wouldn't follow him into a house that he hadn't been in before — not with five kids and a young wife at home just around the corner. He waited outside until the police came, but by then the man was gone. Next time, he thought.
For the members of Kansas City's new religious movement, these confrontations are an almost everyday part of their "suffering package."