NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NYPD is searching for a man accused of twice vandalizing a church statue in Brooklyn.

Surveillance video shows a shirtless man pushing over a statue of St. Francis, breaking the base, around 7 a.m. Saturday at the Blessed Sacrament Church on Euclid Avenue in Cyrpress Hills. The suspect is first seen inside the church before he bolts outside and takes down the iconic figure.

“It brings up a lot of emotions,” Father Jose Henriquez told CBS2’s Scott Rapoport. “You would never think that this would happen at home.”

Police say the same man knocked over the same statue Oct. 31, an incident also caught on video. Enriquez thought then it was nothing more than a Halloween prank.

The first time, the statue fell into bushes, preventing it from being damaged. In both cases, the church managed to restore it to its original condition.

Clergy men at the church say they’ve seen the videos and don’t recognize the suspect, but they believe he is a person in distress.

“In my heart, I feel that he’s trying to get attention for something, or just he’s crazy,” said Pastor Luis Laverde.

“We’re just looking for help trying to figure out who did it, and we can get him proper help,” Henriquez told 1010 WINS’ Roger Stern.

The suspect is described as a Hispanic man with a medium complexion and long, black hair. He is believed to be 20 to 25 years old.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS or for Spanish 888-57-PISTA (74782)

The public can also submit tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or texting tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.


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