VINELAND, N.J., Jan. 26 (UPI) –
Vandals hacked off pieces of religious statues at two Catholic churches in New Jersey, police said.
Police said they believe the statues were defaced Tuesday just before a snowstorm that covered up the damage until Thursday, when a parishioner at Sacred Heart Church in Vineland noticed a statue of the Blessed Mother was missing its hands.
The small angels surrounded the sculpture were missing their heads, the (Vineland) Daily Journal reported Sunday.
A St. Joseph statue on the side of the church was cut in half across its torso and the Sacred Heart of Jesus statue near the entrance to the former Sacred Heart High School was beheaded, the newspaper said.
Each of the statues had been donated to the church and former school by families in memory of loved ones, longtime church member Josephine Walker said.
Two miles across town, the Divine Mercy Parish also experienced similar vandalism to its statuary. The faces were smashed on the Holy Family statue near the entrance of the church, St. Michael was knocked off his pedestal and St. Francis was beheaded. The face was slashed on the so-called Kneeling Jesus statue.