Police search for suspects after church statue vandalized - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Ben Watson

Police search for suspects after church statue vandalized

Germantown Police want to know who decapitated a statue of the Virgin Mary.

Father Edwin Creary of Our Lady of Perpetual Help found the statue of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus when he arrived at the church Friday morning. The statue's head was lying in some bushes and the body was face down in the dirt.

"When I came out here and looked, you just feel like you've been violated because this has been a part of our church for over 50 years," Creary said.

Father Creary showed the 1953 picture of the statue's dedication at Our Lady of Perpetual Help church in Germantown. The hand-carved marble artwork was so heavy it took a large crane to put it in place.

"It's an object of devotion, a statue of our blessed mother and the child Jesus," Creary said.

Insurance investigators are collecting evidence: they think someone put a rope around the statue and pulled it down with a car before sunrise Friday morning.

"I'm saddened that someone would come and, whether they share our belief or not, that they would come on our property and just destroy something. It is a work of art, and a work of beauty and devotion," Creary said.

Church members said the vandals also pulled over a smaller statue behind the church. It took several members to set it upright.

Church leaders say while they hate what the vandals did, their faith teaches them to not hate the vandals.

"Whoever did it, we certainly forgive them. We don't hold that against them, but we just hate to see things destroyed for no reason," Creary said.

Church leaders said if the statues cannot be repaired, they will replace them with new ones.

Anyone with information about the vandalism is asked to call Crimestoppers at 528-CASH.

Click here to e-mail Ben Watson.

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