A “person of interest” was caught on camera vandalizing a statue of Our Lady of Fatima outside the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC.
The crime occurred Sunday on December 5 around 11pm. The black-and-white footage released by DC police show the person of interest using a hammer to break off and steal the hands of the statue.
Our Lady’s face was also defaced, struck repeatedly with the hammer and sending pieces of marble flying.
The statues is located in the basilica’s Rosary Walk and Garden, made of Carrara marble and worth a quarter of a million dollars. Rector Monsignor Walter Rossi said in a statement:
“We have contacted authorities and, though we are deeply pained by this incident, we pray for the perpetrator through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary under her title of Our Lady of Fatima. Subsequent to reviewing security camera footage, a male was found to have entered the locked garden by scaling its fence Sunday night. He then proceeded to cut off the hands of the Blessed Mother and attack her face with a hammer. As he left, he took her hands.”
DC police say the vandalism is not currently being called a hate crime. They ask anyone who has knowledge of the crime or can identify the individual call them at 202-727-9099 or text the tip line at 50411.
“At this time, the incident is not being investigated as a hate crime. However, the classification is subject to change if our investigation determines a clear motive.”