By Emily Drooby
A statue of the Blessed Mother has been the latest target of a criminal who’s caused damage to the Church of Saint Gerard Majella in Hollis, Queens twice before.
As seen in a new surveillance video, the woman in question tried to knock the statue to the ground but couldn’t topple it over.
The church’s pastor, Father Joseph Jude Gannon, is worried that the attacks on his parish are getting worse.
“She seems to now seems to have a pattern and fixation with mary and with us in particular, but it is something that’s very scary because it does seem to be an escalation going from signs, to the rosary icons and then to Mary herself,” Fr. Gannon explained, referring to the other times the vandal caused damage at the church.
A church security camera recorded the first attack two Sundays ago, when the woman ripped down a large church sign and tore the parish’s name from potted plants.
Then, before dawn this past Monday, she went after rosary stations in the same outdoor shrine where the Virgin Mary’s statue is located.
About 20 of the stations were totally destroyed, and the broken pieces tossed into the trash.
The vandal also ripped out parts of the church’s sprinkler system and a stairway handrail.
Fr. Gannon estimates the vandal has caused more than 12,000 dollars worth of damage, and hopes the woman will be safely caught before anything else happens.
Police have also increased patrols in the area, and wanted flyers have been put up in the neighborhood.
Toni and Adam work next door to the church, were disgusted to hear about the latest incident.
“It’s disgusting, Fr. Gannon tried to beautify the neighborhood. The neighborhood is growing. And to see someone do that it’s like a hate crime, against him, the neighborhood, and the church,” Toni said.
“He really did an excellent job. Especially if you would have seen the way it looked before the parking lot, he redid it, he made a little park for the kids to play out here because there’s really nothing out here for them, and they’re just destroying it,” Adam explained.
Rose Dunn, a parishioner at the church, is disappointed the woman targeted the statue.“That’s terrible that’s why I say, ‘I pray to the Lord they catch her,’” she said.
It’s not the first time this church has been targeted. Another individual was arrested for stealing thousands of dollars worth of guitars from the church last year.
Fr. Gannon says despite these attacks, faith in the parish remains strong.