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Vandal Heavily Damages OLL Statues


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A hammer-wielding vandal has damaged three statues at the back entrance of Our Lady of the Lake Church. The Verona Police Department is treating the attack as a bias crime and are asking for the public’s help in solving it.

According to VPD Lieutenant Chris Kiernan, on Sunday night at 8:3.5 p.m., a neighbor to OLL discovered a man with some sort of hammer smashing the statues of Jesus, Mary and Saint John. The attacker knocked off part of Mary’s face and Saint John’s nose, and hit the statue of Jesus so many times that part of its lower left leg was knocked off. When the witness called on the attacker to stop, he ran away shouting what the police describe as anti-religious statements, saying in part, “I don’t worship statues.”

The suspect is described as a white male is his  late 30s or early 40s with a thin build. He had clean-cut brown or black hair and a neatly trimmed full beard, and was of average height. He was last seen running south on Montrose. Police say there was no accent to the man’s voice. The damage to the statues, which appear to be made of cast concrete, is very visible. The left foot knocked off the statue of Jesus was lying in the geraniums beneath the statue.

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Because the attack is being treated as a hate crime, the State Police have been called in and will be meeting with the witness. Anyone with information is urged to call the Verona Police at (973) 239-5000.

Lt. Kiernan said the police have already contacted all the  houses of worship in Verona, letting them know what happened and have checked the grounds of  all those properties for similar damage. None was found. He also said that one of the OLL statues had been reported damaged in May of this year. Workers found some some broken pieces around, but church officials were not sure if that damage was intentional. Lt. Kiernan said the weapon in the new attack is likely to have been “good-size hammer or a mini-sledge hammer”. There had been no calls of threats to the church prior to the incident.

“This is a top priority for us,” Lt. Kiernan said. “We are working on a few leads, and the detective bureau is actively investigating.”



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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citranohttps://myveronanj.com
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Forbes.com. Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected]



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