Group wanted for breaking stained-glass window, damaging cross at Brooklyn church

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Wednesday, February 7, 2024
Police investigating Catholic church vandalism as a hate crime
Joe Torres is in Brooklyn with the story.

MARINE PARK, Brooklyn (WABC) -- Police in Brooklyn are searching for a group of people who vandalized a church.

The group of five people is accused of breaking into a side door of the Saint Columba Roman Catholic Church on Kimball Street in Marine Park during the early morning hours of Jan. 27.

The vandalism was captured by one the church's security cameras.

Once inside, they broke a stained-glass window and metal cross, which was just outside of the camera's range.

Detectives from the 63rd Police Precinct tracked down and released images of the suspects.

Police say due to the nature of the damage, this vandalism has been designated as a "hate crime."

The investigation is now in the hands of the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force.

The church called it a "disgraceful act by these persons and an affront to every Parishioner of our Faith Community and the citizenry of our City."

"You have pride in your parish, I know a lot of parishioners are very upset about this.," church deacon Fred Ritchie said. "I'm upset, Tom is upset. Everybody is upset about it."

Besides the damage to a house of worship, parishioners are bothered by the repeated acts of vandalism to religious artifacts, churches and synagogues across the city, along with the attacks against people of faith.

"It's the desecration. It's that people don't really care like they used to. I mean years ago you wouldn't even think about something like this happening," parishioner Albert Last said.

It will cost more than $1,000 to repair the damaged stained-glass window. Deacon Tom Gleason told Eyewitness News that the vandals actually tried to get inside the church, which dates back to 1967. Had they succeeded, he's certain the damage would have extended to the altar, the statues, the artwork and more.

"They could have even breached into the rectory office and did more damage, and who knows - Father Lambert lives here alone," Gleason said. "Had they breached it and they came upon him, what would they have done to him?"

If you have any information regarding the identity of any of the perpetrators seen in the video, please contact 1-800-577-TIPS (1-800-577-8477).

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