Police seek crook who vandalized Flushing church statue honoring COVID-19 victims

A statue of St. Bernadette at St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church in Flushing was vandalized on Tuesday, Aug. 17. (Photo courtesy of the Diocese of Brooklyn)

Police are investigating an act of vandalism to a newly installed statue outside of St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church in Flushing that occurred on Tuesday, Aug. 17. 

The statue of St. Bernadette was destroyed in front of St. Michael’s Church, located at 138-65 Barclay Ave., at approximately 3:30 a.m. on Aug. 17, according to police. 

The Diocese of Brooklyn, which reported the incident to the NYPD 109th Precinct, said a man jumped over the church fence and knocked the statue over, damaging its left forearm and wrist. 

(Photo courtesy of the Diocese of Brooklyn)

The statue of St. Bernadette — which is the patron saint of the poor, those ridiculed for their faith and the sick — and the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes were dedicated earlier this summer, in remembrance of all parishioners who lost their lives to the coronavirus, according to the Diocese of Brooklyn. 

(Photo courtesy of the Diocese of Brooklyn)

The pastor of St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Father Vincentius Do, said they’re planning to have the statue repaired. 

“St. Michael’s plays a central role in the faith and care of our neighbors through our masses and faith-based services that feed the hungry,” Do said. “For sure this act of vandalism is upsetting, but the faithful of St. Michael’s and I are praying for the person who committed this act against our church. It is important to find the good in all things, and so I wish to take this opportunity to encourage the public to respect our church and our property, as well as that of all houses of worship.” 

According to the NYPD, there are no arrests at this time and the investigation remains ongoing. 

This isn’t the first time the Diocese has reported an act of vandalism to a religious statue in the borough. 

Last month, two statues — one of the Blessed Mother and one of St. Therese the Little Flower — located outside of Our Lady of Mercy Roman Catholic Church in Forest Hills were damaged.

The NYPD had released surveillance footage that showed a woman repeatedly smashing the statues with a hammer, causing them to break. The woman then fled the scene. 

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477).