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Woman Charged With Vandalizing Haverhill Church, Swinging Crucifix At Police

HAVERHILL (CBS) – A homeless woman accused in a bizarre series of events in Haverhill was ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation Wednesday.

Police arrested 54-year-old Amarellis Cermeno Tuesday afternoon after she allegedly wrote "666" in black marker 15 different times on the outside of a church on Portland Street.

Police say Amarellis Cermeno wrote "666" 15 different times on the outside of this church on Portland Street. (Photo credit: Haverhill Police)

Officers were called to the church after a witness took a photo of Cermeno before she walked away.

She was found a short time later at Main and Winter streets, carrying a large metal crucifix. But when Detective Sgt. Dana Burrill approached her, police say Cermeno swung the crucifix at the officer several times.

Amarellis Cermeno
Police say a witness took this photo of Amarellis Cermeno after the Dec. 30 incident. (Photo credit: Haverhill Police)

She was arrested and booked on charges of assault with a dangerous weapon, malicious destruction of property over $250, disorderly conduct, destruction to a place of worship, and resisting arrest.

Police say they later discovered the crucifix came from the nativity display at Sacred Hearts Church on South Main Street.

A baby Jesus statue was stolen from that display last week and replaced with a severed pig's head.

Baby Jesus Stolen
A baby Jesus statue was stolen from this nativity scene in Haverhill, Dec. 25. (WBZ-TV)

At her arraignment Wednesday afternoon in Haverhill District Court, Cermeno admitted to defacing the Portland Street church, but she denied placing the pig's head in the manger scene at Sacred Hearts Church.

Police have not said if Cermeno was involved or connected to that incident, saying only that the investigation "remains open at this time."

Cermeno was ordered to undergo a 20-day psychiatric evaluation before her next court appearance.


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