Parishioners at a church in Queens were left picking up the broken pieces of two religious statues Saturday after a vandal struck overnight.
Police say a woman was spotted by a witness dragging a piece of the statue outside Our Lady of Mercy Roman Catholic Church around 3:30 a.m. Saturday. The NYPD's Hate Crime Task Force is investigating.
The Diocese of Brooklyn said the two statues had been on display outside the church since its opening in 1937. One statue was of the Blessed Mother and the other of St. Therese the Little Flower.
According to the diocese, the vandal dragged each statue roughly 180 feet from the church and smashed each with a hammer. The destruction comes three days after each statue was knocked over but not damaged.
The suspect currently sought by police is believed to be the person behind each incident, the diocese said.
“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,” Father Frank Schwarz, Pastor of Our Lady of Mercy Roman Catholic Church, said in a statement.