I keep asking myself at what point enough will finally be enough, but there doesn’t seem to be a limit to the depravity we’re seeing in the streets these days, particularly in New York City. As most of you are likely aware, this isn’t the first incident of this type to take place in the Big Apple, but it’s probably one of the most brazen and audacious we’ve seen to date. Another statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary has been destroyed by a vandal, this time in the Coney Island neighborhood of Brooklyn. Making the crime all the more insane is the fact that the church in question, Shrine Church of Our Lady of Solace, had a security camera running and the perpetrator’s entire performance was captured on video. He and another pedestrian (who apparently objected to the attack) are seen looking at the Our Lady of Guadalupe statue before he climbs up into the display area, wrestles it off of its base and hurls it to smash on the sidewalk. (CBS News 2 New York)
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.
Here’s the video from CBS News 2 in New York. Not only do you see the suspect throwing the statue to the sidewalk in broad daylight, but he almost poses for his future mug shot as he prepares to climb the fence.
It’s strange how CBS chose to blur out the face of the man seen chatting with the vandal prior to the attack. According to one witness, the second man allegedly objected to the suspect destroying the statue and even attempted to replace it back on its base after it was thrown down. That led to a fight between the vandal and the second man, so I’m sure he must have gotten a good look at him.
As I mentioned above, this wasn’t the first shocking attack of this kind. We saw the vandalism of two statues of the Blessed Virgin earlier this summer, with one of the incidents being investigated as a potential hate crime. But… why?
Yet again we are left to ask what, if anything, this individual could have been “protesting” by doing this. That church is primarily attended by Hispanic worshippers in a predominantly minority neighborhood. The specific statue depicted Our Lady of Guadalupe, an image of particular reverence for Mexican-American Catholics, so this couldn’t be some sort of racial issue. Was it an act of hatred against Catholics or, perhaps, simply Christians in general? Or was this just more random, nonspecific violence committed by someone who simply wants to watch the world burn?
As for the local parishioners of Shrine Church of Our Lady of Solace, they are dismayed but pulling together to restore their church. It will cost thousands of dollars to replace the statue, but the donations are coming in. This is also a fine lesson in the wisdom of investing in a good security camera system.
If you happen to live in the area and have any information about this suspect you can help out the authorities as follows:
Anyone with any information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit a tip via their website or on Twitter, @NYPDTips. All calls are kept confidential.