More church vandalism in New Jersey

A vandal chipped away the nose of the Virgin Mary outside St. Joan of Arc Church in Marlton, New Jersey.
July 18, 2011 8:45:43 PM PDT
For the seventh time in a little more than a week, another New Jersey church is cleaning up from vandalism.

The vandal chipped away the nose of the Virgin Mary outside St. Joan of Arc Church in Marlton, New Jersey.

The vandal is also accused of breaking the sword of the statue that bears the church's name.

Crews have since fixed it with glue, but investigators believe this is the work of a serial vandal hitting the area.

"A lot of the statues, the hands have been removed...plus just the location, close proximity to the other instances," Lt. Walt Miller of the Evesham Police Department said.

In all, the vandal is suspected in dozen of damaged statues and six churches.

Parishioner Karen Murphy surveyed the destruction at the Catholic Church of Saint Mary on Springdale Road Monday morning.

One statue of the Virgin Mary there still stands, but her hands are broken off.

"She just looks sad to me, my mom and I just said, 'wow,' it's like she's even thinking 'why did somebody do this,'" Murphy said.

Last Tuesday, Action News uncovered similar damage at Saint Thomas More Catholic and the Queen of Heaven Catholic Church on West Route 70.

Like the most recent incident, hands were chopped off and statues were knocked over.

Outside Saint John Neumann Church in Mt. Laurel, 30 statues were vandalized. It is an estimated cost of $30,000.

But now, investigators may have caught a break in the case.

St. Joan of Arc has surveillance video. Detectives are trying to retrieve it.

Witnesses believe they saw the suspect shortly before the last occurrence.

"He was driving a tan or beige colored sedan; we believe it's an import model with square rear lights," Lt. Miller said.


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