Is it A War On Catholicism? Police Don't Know, But Say Incidents Like These Rare

YONKERS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Police are investigating a string of holiday hate crimes in Yonkers. Vandals have hit eight times, desecrating nativity scenes across the area.

This time of year religious statues represent people’s reasons for the season — their belief in the birth of Jesus Christ. The season in Yonkers something unusual for the area has happened.

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“I think it’s childish and immature not really in the holiday spirit!” one person said.

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports

Victoria Beldran is one of eight people who called police due to the vandalism in front of her home this weekend on Park Avenue.

“It’s not about the statue it’s about what it means for you. It hurts,” Beldran said.

Police Commissioner Edmund Hartnett said the crime spree started Saturday — with six homes and two churches hit, including a statue covered in black paint outside of the convent at Sacred Heart Church.

“We believe an attack on one religion is an attack on all and it violates our basic freedoms,” Hartnett said.

In addition to vandalism, police confirmed there has been one theft of a statue on Palisade Avenue.

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Right now police have little evidence, but they have recovered one statue of Mary in a dumpster — not broken.

The statue, believed to be the one that belongs on Palisade Avenue is now part of the investigation. It’s a white, delicate porcelain figure that somehow survived the dumpster tumble.

“I don’t want to read too much into that, but it is the holiday season and miracles do happen,” Detective. Capt. Robert Itzla said.

“I hope police do something to catch those crazy ones,” one resident said.

So far no arrests have been made, but if and when the perpetrators caught this will be prosecuted as a hate crime and could be a felony, police said.

Police also said if convicted whoever committed these crimes could spend several years behind bars. The Yonkers Police commissioner said religious vandalism or bias crimes are rare in the city.

Police are asking anyone with information to contact the Yonkers Police Detective Division at 914-377-7724.

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