Police Arrest Verona Resident In OLL Statue Vandalism


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OLL VandalismOn Monday October 8th, the Verona Police arrested Elliot Bennett, age 35 of Verona, for Criminal Mischief and Bias Intimidation in relation to the Our Lady of the Lake Church statue vandalism that was reported this mast March.

As part of the investigation, Verona Detectives spoke with Bennett on March 27th, however he stopped the conversation and requested to speak with an attorney. The Detective Bureau continued their investigation following multiple leads over the last 5 months. Several weeks ago, Bennett contacted Detective Sergeant Timothy Banta and requested to speak with him directly. He voluntarily came to Verona Police Headquarters and it was at that time Bennett admitted to the act of vandalism. Bennett said he smashed the statues because he has seen people ‘worshiping false idols made from stone’ at that location, which goes against his beliefs.

“I credit Detective Sergeant Banta, Detectives Joel Martin and TJ Conroy for their steadfast commitment to this case. This type of incident strikes at our American values and causes great concern within the community. I must also acknowledge Mr. Bennett for his honesty and cooperation in coming forward to speak with our Detectives. I hope this offers some closure to the Church, and the community, and we continue to strive to always respect one another”, stated Chief Christopher Kiernan.

Bennett was released pending a Court date in late November at the Essex County Veterans Courthouse.

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