Manhattan man busted for allegedly vandalizing Forest Hills church: NYPD

Forest Hills hate crime
(Photo courtesy of NYPD)

Detectives from the NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force arrested a Manhattan man Sunday, Feb. 5, for allegedly vandalizing a Forest Hills house of worship a week earlier.

Juan Velez, 29, of East 30th Street in Kips Bay, was taken into custody and charged with criminal mischief as a hate crime and criminal mischief with intent to damage property for allegedly throwing a rock at the front door of Grace Lutheran Church on the afternoon of Sunday, Jan. 29.

Investigators determined that it was Velez who was seen on surveillance video hurling a rock that “intentionally damaged” the glass front door of the church across from the northern edge of Forest Park.

While an NYPD spokesman could not provide detail on how the arrest was made or a motive for the vandalism, Velez is reportedly the same Manhattan man who was arrested for throwing a wrench at Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s residence at St. Patrick’s Cathedral during a two-day vandalism spree last October that included damage to two other Manhattan churches.