NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police are on the hunt for a man caught on camera vandalizing a religious statue in Brooklyn.
The statue stood outside Shrine Church of Our Lady of Solace on West 17th Street and Mermaid Avenue in Coney Island. It was worth $4,000, and now the church has to raise funds to buy a new one.
The statue depicts Our Lady of Guadalupe, one of the most iconic images of the Virgin Mary, and it is particularly revered by Mexican-Americans.
A second statue in the group outside the Coney Island church depicts St. Juan Diego. Catholics believe his cloak was miraculously impressed with an image of Mary. It is now on display at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, north of Mexico City.
A statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe was vandalized at Shrine Church of Our Lady of Solace. Praying for the church, as parishioners come together to raise funds to repair the statue important to the whole #ConeyIsland community. @TabletNewspaper https://t.co/aBkhpnClbF
— Diocese of Brooklyn (@BrooklynDiocese) September 16, 2020
Parishioners said the vandalism is just another example of the increased disrespect they’ve been witnessing in their neighborhood.
Surveillance video shows a man in a hat climbing a fence outside Our Lady of Solace and clambering up a religious shrine. He grabs the statue of the Blessed Mother, knocks it over and hurls it onto the sidewalk.
“Who knows mentally what’s going on with that person in that moment, but you don’t do stuff like that. This is vandalism,” said Coney Island resident Sara Marerro.
Marerro saw it happen. After the video ends, she said the other man in the video, whose face was blurred, tried to fix the statue, and then the two got into an altercation.
“The other guy came trying to put the statue back. And that’s when they started fighting because the other guy, they were drunk,” Marerro said.
The Blessed Mother’s face and hands were smashed. Now the full statue has to be replaced.
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