Cops searching for vandal who tagged MS-13 graffiti on Bayside church and school

Screenshot from video by Currents News/NET-TV

Police continue to investigate an act of vandalism at a Bayside church and school, in which an unknown suspect graffitied the name of the  MS-13 gang on both of the buildings.

The Diocese of Brooklyn recently released surveillance video of the vandal defacing the entrance of Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church and Catholic Academy in the early morning of Jan. 12.

Video showed the masked suspect walking up to the church and school before using a can of spray paint. The suspect tagged “MS-13” on the walls near the main entrance of the church and “MS” on the Academy school doors.

“My initial reaction when I heard about the vandalism was that I didn’t know what to expect. I thought maybe windows were broken or our nativity had been vandalized and so in a sense, I was relieved that the damage to the church was not more significant,” said Monsignor Thomas Machalski, pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus Roman Catholic Church, which is located at 215-35 38th Ave. in Bayside.

Police from the 111th Precinct, in conjunction with the Hate Crimes Task Force, are currently investigating this incident and there have been no arrests.

According to the Diocese of Brooklyn, the parish has security cameras monitoring the school entrance and is looking into installing cameras at the church’s entrance.

MS-13, also known as “Mara Salvatrucha,” is a Los Angeles-based street gang made up of immigrants from El Salvador, which originated in the 1970s and 1980s. Its original purpose was to protect Salvadoran immigrants from other gangs in LA.

“To the perpetrator, I would encourage them to find something more constructive to do with their time and energy, because the time they wasted on doing something like this, could be spent doing something good,” Monsignor Machalski said in a statement.

Machalski told The Tablet that he does not believe these were targeted attacks as cops found similar graffiti on neighboring garage doors and fences.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website or on Twitter @NYPDTips.

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