Police in Windsor Locks, Connecticut are investigating the decapitation of a religious statue as an act of vandalism, but the statue’s owner said it’s a hate crime.
“It just hurts me so bad, I want to cry,”Darlene Fraga said.
The Virgin Mary statue that once stood tall on her front yard, is destroyed and Fraga is devastated.
A few weeks ago, someone or perhaps a group of people, decapitated the statue, police said.
Fraga said about a week after that, the statue’s head was replaced with a gnome.
“They took a sledge hammer and decapitated her, and took her crown of roses and rosary beads,” said Fraga.
Windsor Locks police said they don’t have a suspect, but believe kids may have done it. Police added that the incident is among a string of random vandalism in the area.
However, Fraga believes her property was targeted and that the incident is a hate crime.
“That’s up in my yard. That’s not near the corner. That’s right on my yard,” said Fraga.
While it’s difficult for Fraga to see her once precious statue ruined, she said she won’t remove it until she’s ready.
“I think after I get over the initial shock, I’m going to take the whole thing down,” said Fraga.
While she feels the statue is irreplaceable, she hopes justice is served.
“Whoever did it, God knows and you know. It’s riding on your shoulder now,” said Fraga.
In the meantime, one of Fraga’s friends is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
The person or persons responsible will be charged with criminal mischief, police said.
Police are trying to figure out who’s responsible for smashing a car window with a golf ball covered in hate speech.
About 150 people were inside Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Saturday afternoon.
They were celebrating Pastor Anita Hill’s installation as the regional director of a specialized ministry that reaches out to gay, lesbian and transgender congregants.
Hill is an openly gay pastor in the E.L.C.A. (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America).
After the service, Robert Paddock found a golf ball in his car with gay slurs written on it.
“It’s one thing to have your opinion – you may not accept this – but when you go out and damage people’s property, that’s another thing,” said Paddock.
“It’s not changing anything by doing an act like that. It’s simply vandalism.”
Emily Eastwood, the executive director of Lutherans for Full Participation, says they ball will be kept as a reminder.
“The St. Paul P.D. came, and they made a police report and documented the evidence. They said we could have the ball if we wanted it, they didn’t need it. So it’s going to live on my desk as a sign of the work we still have to do,” said Eastwood.
There is a golf course across the street, but police say it’s impossible for the ball found in the car to have been an accidental hit.
News video HERE
A Satanic couple say that they believe that they’re a victim of a hate crime and were targeted because of their religious beliefs.
Someone cut down a political poster stating, “VOTE SATAN” from their front porch where they live in Mountain View, a suburb of Denver.
“We are Satanists… Satanists,” said Luigi Bellaviste.
Luigi and Angie Bellaviste belong to the Church of Satan. They even have a Satanic Bible in their home.
The couple is upset because a poster they had hanging from their front porch was recently cut down. It wasn’t very popular with some neighbours.
“Everybody that sees that sign says, ‘What is going on with those people?,’” said neighbour Mary Morasco.
The couple’s home and yard are decorated with items like a Christmas tree that has been painted black, skulls and the number 666.
They believe the cutting down of the poster was an attack on their religious beliefs.
“I feel like we’re being treated unfairly because it’s not a so-called mainstream religion,” said Luigi.
“I know of many people who have the Virgin Mary and tons of Jesus memorabilia ‘I Love Jesus’ and what is the difference?” said Angie.
The couple wants the police to consider the incident a hate crime because their religion is protected by the U.S. Constitution.
“Had that been the Star of David or a verse from the Koran,” said Luigi, “or something like that got damaged by somebody against those beliefs that would certainly be considered a hate crime.”
An officer with the Mountain View Police Department said the report will likely be filed as theft because there was no obvious attack on the couple’s church or religious beliefs.
News video from HERE