Woman caught on video destroying statues outside NYC church

A woman yanked down two religious statues outside a Queens church and destroyed them by chucking them into the street in a “heartbreaking” act of vandalism, the church’s pastor said.

The early Saturday morning wrecking spree was caught on video outside Our Lady of Mercy in Forest Hills, where the hammer-wielding suspect hopped a short barrier and began shaking the decades-old statues until they became loose.

The video shows the woman then throwing the figures — one of the Blessed Mother and another of St. Therese the Little Flower — onto the sidewalk and then onto Kessel Street.

The enraged vandal is also seen whacking the statues with her hammer, stomping on them and spitting at the monuments.

She fled the scene after the 3 a.m. incident.

The suspect approaches the statue at Our Lady of Mercy in Forest Hills.
The suspect approaches the statues at Our Lady of Mercy in Forest Hills.
DCPI
The suspect seen destroying the statue at the Catholic church.
The suspect seen destroying the statues at the Catholic church.
DCPI

The same woman is wanted for knocking over both statues on Wednesday, according to police and church officials. They were not damaged in the prior episode, according to the Diocese of Brooklyn.

The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Unit and the 112th Precinct are investigating the vandalism.

The statues had been outside the church since 1937, according to the church’s pastor and the Diocese of Brooklyn.

“Both of these statues have stood in front of the church since it was built,” Father Frank Schwarz, Pastor at Our Lady of Mercy Roman Catholic Church, said in a statement.

“It is heartbreaking, but sadly it is becoming more and more common these days,” he added. “I pray that this recent rash of attacks against Catholic churches and all houses of worship will end, and religious tolerance may become more a part of our society.”

Vandalized Queens statues
The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Unit is investigating the incident.
Diocese of Brooklyn
Head of vandalized statue
The statues had been outside the church since 1937.
Diocese of Brooklyn

Schwarz told reporters on Sunday that a retired pastor at the church notified him overnight Saturday of the destruction and called 911. He said that the statues are “pretty much destroyed,” after the suspect was able to remove them — even though a church custodian bolted them to the ground following Wednesday’s toppling.

“Clearly, there was a rage. She deliberately went and destroyed these things,” he said “She had a rage. She stomped on it and spit on it.”

Still, the reverend said he’d call on parishioners to pray for the alleged perpetrator.

“I’m going to speak to the people at the Mass today … I’ll speak after the homily and encourage people to pray for this person.”

“I think she’s probably more in need of prayers than anything else.”

Meanwhile, Schwarz lamented that vandalization of places of worship has become “much more commonplace” of late.

“It seems to be targeted, but these things have become much more commonplace, not just against Catholic churches, but against synagogues and mosques,” he said. “These things have been disturbingly much more commonplace and I don’t know how to respond to that.”

Additional reporting by Kevin Downs

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