HAMILTON TWP., N.J. (WPVI) --Police in Hamilton Township are trying to track down the vandals who destroyed a statue of a Roman goddess.
The 800 pound figure was toppled from its perch outside the Italian American Heritage Center in Hamilton, breaking into pieces.
"It's concrete. It doesn't have rods in it and the way it hit, it just snapped it in half and then broke the arms and hands off," John Scarpati said.
It happened the Friday before last, one day it was erected, and it's not the first time vandals have hit this Italian American club.
Not long ago, someone defaced the statue of Christopher Columbus that stands at the corner of the property.
"Last year, we had a new Columbus statue, they painted the face black and then they wrote the F word and some other logos," Scarpati said.
Members are wondering why vandals would target the center and damage the statues that were placed to beautify the property and commemorate their Italian heritage.
"We're trying to be proud of our heritage and we are trying to show it and they are just tearing us down," Sally Van Fleet of the Italian American Heritage Center said.
The damaged statue is part of a unique collection of religious figures that also includes Roman centurion statues Scarpetta got from a storage place in Atlantic City.
Police tell Action News they've checked security cameras in the area for leads, but without success.
Volunteers are now installing their own camera system at the center.
"It's cowardice. They can't stand to see somebody have something great in the community," Scarpati said.
The broken statue is now being kept behind the building and is being replaced with another figure.
The Italian American Heritage Center is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of the vandals.