Police are investigating an act of vandalism that left two religious statues destroyed at Our Lady of Mercy Roman Catholic Church in Forest Hills early Saturday morning.
According to the Diocese of Brooklyn, at approximately 3:30 a.m. on July 17, the two statues were were dragged 180 feet across 70th Avenue, where they were smashed with a hammer. Earlier this week, the statues — one of the Blessed Mother and one of St. Therese the Little Flower — had been toppled over, but not damaged on Wednesday, July 14, according to the Diocese.
The individual involved in both acts of vandalism is believed to be the same person, according to the Diocese.
“Both of these statues have stood in front of the church since it was built. It is heartbreaking, but sadly it is becoming more and more common these days,” said Father Frank Schwarz, pastor of Our Lady of Mercy Roman Catholic Church. “I pray that this recent rash of attacks against Catholic churches and all houses of worship will end, and religious tolerance may become more a part of our society.”
Police on Sunday, July 18, released video of the suspect vandalizing the statues. The video shows the suspect repeatedly slamming the statues to the ground, causing them to break. The suspect then fled the scene.
Police say the suspect is a woman in her mid-20s, with a medium complexion, average build and wearing all black clothing.
The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Unit and the 112th Precinct are investigating the incident.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477).
Anyone with information in regard to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at nypdcrimestoppers.com, or on Twitter @NYPDTips.