Statue stolen from church, thrown in trash in Brooklyn

PARK SLOPE, Brooklyn (WABC) -- Police in Brooklyn released video of a man stealing a statue from a church.

A person who works at the church told Eyewitness News that holy statue was stolen twice, and this recent time it was found dumped in a garbage can across the street.

Parishioners at St. Thomas Aquinas Church on 9th Street in Park Slope couldn't believe what they saw in the surveillance video. It showed a man walking right out of the church with a statue over his shoulder.

"It's disgusting to see," parishioner Thomas Sosnowski said.

A church employee told Eyewitness News that it's a statue of Our Lady of el Cisne, the Ecuadorian version of the Virgin Mary.

Police say the burglary happened last Wednesday around 11 a.m., and they're investigating it as a possible hate crime.

"I think it was just a crazy lunatic looking to rob something," Sosnowski said.

Sosnowski's family has worshiped at the church his entire life. To him, the crime doesn't make sense.

"They don't have no faith in the Lord," he said. "How can you steal from the church?"

The statue has been recovered and it's being cleaned up and restored.

The person wanted for questioning is described as a man wearing a black jacket, blue jeans, and white sneakers.

Anyone with information in regard to this incident is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).

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