PARK SLOPE – The NYPD is searching for a man who stole a statue from Saint Thomas Aquinas Church and then dumped it into a nearby trash can.
Surveillance video taken at approximately 11:10am last Wednesday, February 20, shows a man walking out of the church at 249 9th Street (at 4th Avenue) carrying the statue. The statue was later recovered, with some damage, from a garbage can, according to police.
An employee of the church told ABC 7 NY that the statue of Our Lady of el Cisne, “the Ecuadorian version of the Virgin Mary,” had been stolen once before. This time it was found in a trash receptacle across the street from the church. Police are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime, according to ABC.
This incident occurs as hate crimes continue to rise across the city, with the window of a synagogue in Bushwick smashed on Saturday, February 16 and swastikas scrawled at the Newkirk Plaza subway station last Tuesday, February 19 and at the Brighton Beach Playground over the weekend.
Police describe the individual wanted for questioning in the Park Slope incident as a male wearing a black jacket, blue jeans, and white sneakers.
Anyone with information in regard to the above incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM, on Twitter @NYPDTips or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.