By John Lavenburg & Jessica Easthope
MIDTOWN —The NYPD Hate Crime unit is searching for a vandal who threw a wrench through an outer glass door of St. Patrick’s Cathedral shortly before 12:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 28.
Speaking to Currents News about the incident on Oct. 31, Archbishop of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan said, “You can’t help but be a little apprehensive” after something like this happens, but also noted the perspective it provides.
“Compared to what’s happened to so many citizens of this city, this wasn’t so bad, so I try to look at the bright side,” he added. “Maybe it’s good for me to have more of a sensitivity to some of the apprehension that our people are feeling.”
In a surveillance video released by police, a man steps onto the sidewalk and scans the area before pulling the wrench out of his pocket and throwing it at the cathedral. He then casually walks away northbound on Madison Avenue.
Responding officers recovered the wrench at the scene, according to the NYPD. The Department’s Hate Crimes Task Force is now investigating the incident.
The portion of St. Patrick’s Cathedral where the vandal threw the wrench is part of the residence of clergy members of the parish. Cardinal Dolan was not home at the time of the incident.
He told Currents News that the culprit likely needs help.
“Part of my gut says they ought to throw him in jail. The other [part] says he’s probably some mentally challenged guy that needs some help,” Cardinal Dolan said. “That doesn’t mean he should be out on the street … but darn it, he needs some compassion and care.”
Joseph Zwilling, director of communications for the Archdiocese of New York, thanked the department for its quick response.
“We’re grateful that nobody was hurt and that the individual did not enter the residence,” Zwilling said. “Also grateful to the New York Police Department, which responded immediately, as they always do.”
As of Oct. 23, there were 21 religion-related hate crimes in New York City so far in 2022, according to NYPD data. The number is a marked uptick from last year when there were eight religion-related hate crimes across New York City, the data shows.
The NYPD asks anyone with information about the incident to call their Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or, for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). All calls are confidential. People can also submit tips by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website at https://crimestoppers.nypdonline.org/, or on Twitter @NYPDTips.