Vandal defaces statues outside Catholic church in Bensonhurst: VIDEO

Lucy Yang Image
Wednesday, June 12, 2024
VIDEO: Vandal defaces statues outside Brooklyn Catholic church
Lucy Yang reports on the vandalism at the Brooklyn church.

BENSONHURST, Brooklyn (WABC) -- Police have released video of vandal seen using a hammer to deface statues at a Catholic Church in Brooklyn, and while the suspect is now in custody, churchgoers say the damage is already done, physically and emotionally.

The statues of Mother Theresa and Pope John XXIII on 20th Avenue in Bensonhurst are now draped in crimson red, and the doors of St. Dominic's Roman Catholic Church have been boarded up.

It comes after the faces of the revered figures were bashed in and the glass doors smashed.

"I got married there, I did my confirmation there, I did my communion there, my kids were baptized there," said parishioner JoAnne Liggieri. "We all know everybody. It's a family thing. It's just very, very sad this happened."

Liggieri has celebrated every special milestone at her home church. When she heard the commotion Monday afternoon across the street, she quickly started recording and called 911.

"To us, it doesn't matter what religion you are. She's Albanian and she's actually was from same town where my grandmother was born," said Bedrana Duka.

Duka is Muslim but she has personal affection for Mother Theresa. Both hail from Albania originally. She and Marko Kepi, who is also Albanian, are now starting a GoFundMe account for the church.

"When we look at saints and holy statues, they should always be in the best condition. Where people worship them and not see them destroyed," said Kepi, a candidate for New York State Senate.

For those who call this neighborhood parish their spiritual home, the pastor, Father Michael Lynch, is now asking for the community to pray for the person committed this act, and to pray for peace of heart and mind.

"Look at it now, it's all boarded up. The statues are all covered. Really, really sad," Liggieri said.

Thanks to Liggieri's description, a quick police response and perhaps the prayers of the faithful, an arrest was made shortly thereafter.

A 30-year-old man with prior mental health problems has now been charged with criminal mischief.


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