Watch CBS News

Queens church vandalism under investigation as possible hate crime

Queens church vandalism under investigation as possible hate crime
Queens church vandalism under investigation as possible hate crime 01:56

NEW YORK -- The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is continuing its investigation locating three teenagers who were seen on surveillance video destroying a statue at Holy Family Church in Queens.

CBS2 spoke to the pastor and parishioners on Sunday morning before Mass.

A mother of two was overcome with emotion when she was about the vandalism that took place outside her church in Fresh Meadows on Thursday at around 10 p.m.

"I'm upset about it. That means we have gotten to the core of weakness and hate to attack the church like this," the mother, named Cynthia, said.

The three teens took the statue, which was behind the fence, and walked a short distance before tossing it and smashing it into pieces. Some of the debris was seen Sunday still left behind.

Police say the three suspects are believed to be about 15 to 17 years old.

"It's really difficult, but I think they're just playful, being playful, and it's not right. They should respect this facility. This is a church," a parishioner named Adele said.

"I was very upset because this is like high school kids and there were three of them. One of them was video taping the whole thing. I think it's part of the whole TikTok challenge of vandalism," said Father Sean Suckiel, the pastor of Holy Family Church.

Suckiel said what's frustrating is this is not new. He told us a church nearby was vandalized in January.

"For a church, everything is donations and so it comes from people's sacrifices and their own faith and so much more. So these statues really mean something to people. So people are upset. My question would be why would they do this? They really went out of their way to do this," Suckiel said.

"There's a lot to be said about what's happening with our children today," Cynthia said.

CBS2 was told the statue of the angel had been there for more than 10 years. A hole is now in its place.

Anyone with any information is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit a tip via their website or via DM on Twitter, @NYPDTips. All calls are kept confidential.    

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.