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St. Anselm’s Church in Bay Ridge hit with graffiti

Wanted! $1,250 Reward offered if you catch church vandal

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That’s not the sign of the cross!

A graffiti vandal painted a large letter “X” on two statues outside St. Anselm’s Church on the corner of 82nd Street and Fourth Avenue last week, but cops have faith they’ll catch the culprit, who was caught on video in the act, and who now has a price on his head.

State Sen. Marty Golden, who is a member of the flock at St. Anselm’s, is offering the $1,000 in return for information leading to the capture of the criminal, who’s dirty work was discovered last Friday.

“I can tell you that we will not stand for such acts of religious intolerance in our community,” said Golden. “We must bring this individual to justice.”

Church members heading to morning mass on May 31 noticed the marking on the side of the crucifix in front of the house of worship — and discovered a similar desecration on the neck of the statue of the Virgin Mary in the church’s prayer garden along 82nd Street, an area paved with cobblestones dedicated to deceased loved ones.

Church officials said the event was a shock to the faithful, many of who are elderly, and wondered why someone would do such a thing.

“Those are sacred images to people of faith, and it’s very upsetting to parishione­rs,” said Monsignor John Maloney, the church’s pastor. “Is it some kind of message, is it just a cowardly act, or the act of a foolish kid, I don’t know?”

The priest contacted police, who came and reviewed the church’s security tapes. The videos show a figure first drawing on the image of Christ, and then on the statue of Mary. Police have taken the taken the tapes for further analysis.

Golden’s aide and fellow parishioner John Quaglione — who is challenging incumbent Councilman Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) this fall — is putting up an additional $250 reward.

At press time, police were not treating the defiling as a bias crime.

But it is not the first time a Catholic establishment in Bay Ridge has been targeted by vandals. Last March someone knocked over a statue of the Virgin Mary and beheaded the likeness of a lamb at Visitation Monastery on Ridge Boulevard.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at wbredderman@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at twitter.com/WillBredderman.

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