New York City Police took a 55-year old man into custody this week for his involvement in the defacing of local churches and synagogues in the Bay Ridge, Brooklyn area.
Chris Papadimitriopoulos, 55, was brought in for spray painting two statues of Jesus and Mary red at St. Anselm's Catholic Church in New York City. He also vandalized the Bay Ridge Jewish Center along with another church in the area, according to the NY Daily News.
Police stated that he covered the statues with red spray paint sometime before 3 a.m. on Tuesday.
Father Kull, a parish priest at St. Anselm's described those statues as staples in the community that bring residents a form of peace.
"We have two quite prominent statues outside the church with one being a crucifix and the other being a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary," said Kull to The Christian Post. "What was particularly hurtful [about the incident] was that people in the neighborhood, not just parishioners, would stop before the cross or the statue of Mary and in very busy chaotic New York they'd find a few moments of peace during their chaotic days."
"That was the worst part of the [vandalism] was that someone had came and taken away their peace that they always felt stopping there," he adds.
Kull added that the police did a "remarkable job" in apprehending the vandal in under 12 hours. He also stated that Papadimitriopoulos suffers from a mental disability.
"What I know [about him] now is that not unexpectedly [he's] a mentally disturbed person," he said. "That actually made me feel a little better knowing that he was just a poor sick person rather than the possibility that this was [done] by some kind of a hate group. That's always a concern that it's a really deliberate hate action."