NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A vandal targeted a historic church in SoHo this week, throwing statues outside St. Anthony of Padua Church.
As CBS2’s Reena Roy reported, the vandal’s every move was caught on camera.
The beautiful statues have graced West Houston Street for decades. But a closer look now shows broken-of hands and other destruction.
“He stood here and flung each one at full force,” said the Rev. Mario Julian.
The vandal is seen grabbing the statues one by one, yanking them out of their bases, and hurling each directly at the bigger statue – smashing them on the stone early Monday morning.
“He looked angry,” Julian said. “I mean, why else would you do that to the statues?”
Soon after, the vandal causally left. He hopped over the fence and then walked down the street as if nothing had happened.
“I feel bad,” Julian said. “I feel bad.”
The statuary scene depicts Our Lady of Fatima, whom Catholic parishioners call the Blessed Mother, greeting three shepherd children. They are now chipped all over, missing hands and a nose.
‘”I think it’s horrible. I’m surprised to hear about it,” said Cindi Cericola of SoHo. “And I don’t know who would do something like that to this church.”
The church has bene able to recover some pieces from the statutes, but they said the damage may be too extensive and expensive to repair.
“They’re smashed. There are pieces gone, and I don’t think they can be repaired,” Julian said, “so I may need to replace the whole thing.”
Julian said that could cost roughly $8,000 to $10,000, and there are no funds for it. But with a church that has been around since 1886, he is hopeful that people will step up.
“The people here are great. You ask them for something and they come through, so God bless them,” Julian said.
He said he had a “lot of hope” that people will come together to replace the statues, and their sense of humanity.