Woman seen on video smashing religious statues outside Queens Church – CBS New York
NEW YORK (CBSNew York) – The NYPD is looking for the vandal who was filmed destroying statues outside a Catholic Church in Queens.
The incident happened this weekend in Forest Hills. Christina Fan of CBS2 spoke with upset parishioners arriving for mass on Sunday.
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Pieces of the statues of the Virgin Mary and Saint Therese were scattered on the lawn of the Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady of Mercy. Parishioners arriving for morning mass did not understand why.
“It’s just very emotional,” said one person.
“It’s horrible. How can you do that?” said another.
Surveillance cameras from the church show the vandal striking around 3:30 a.m. on Saturday. The suspect, who police say appears to be female, knocks over the statues, drags them through 70th Avenue, then uses a hammer to smash them into pieces.
“It is only a statue, but it symbolizes a good thing, which is why it is difficult to understand someone who walks in the early morning and does this,” said parishioner Peter Kumelwski.
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What is particularly heartbreaking about this act of vandalism is that the two statues date from 1937, the year the church opened.
“I don’t know if it’s just general anti-religion sentiment or just bad people having some sort of vendetta against churches,” Reverend Frank Schwarz said.
Schwarz told the stunned congregation he believed this was not the suspect’s first attack on the church. He said the same woman pushed the statues off their pedestals on Wednesday, then returned on Saturday to finish the job.
“She deliberately went to destroy these things. It wasn’t just enough to tip over then. She had a rage. She stomped on it and spat on it, ”Schwarz said.
The statues are irreparable. Signs on the ground on Sunday read, “Please pray for the person who did this. The pastor told parishioners to find it in their hearts to offer forgiveness instead of the hatred that the woman showed.
They urge anyone with information to call the NYPD Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit a tip via their website or on Twitter, @NYPDTips. All calls are kept confidential.
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Christina Fan of CBS2 contributed to this report.