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Man Caught On Camera High-Fiving, Pulling Down Statue Outside Williamsburg Church

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Police say a man was caught on camera high-fiving and then vandalizing a religious statue in Brooklyn.

As CBS2's Valerie Castro reported, it's not the first time the church has been targeted.

The unholy hijinks were caught on surveillance camera. A man in a group of three raised his hand and high-fived the Sacred Heart of Jesus statue outside of Saints Peter and Paul Church rectory in Williamsburg.

"So they high-five it, and they climb onto this, reach over, and then it looks like they're kissing the top of the head," Waleska Soto said.

The man appeared to lose his balance and pulled the statue off its base, cracking the plaster. The group took off running.

The damage was discovered on Monday morning.

"Upset because even the high-five was unnecessary. You want to stop by and admire it, give a prayer, contemplate it, it's no reason for you to go beyond the fence and touch it," Soto said.

Soto is the church secretary, and said several statues placed outside the building have been the target of crimes beginning in 2012.

"The first time, it got stolen, we never retrieved it, a new one was donated by a family from New Jersey," Soto said.

That donated, 100-year-old statue was stolen in May, and later recovered with some damage.

The new one was put in its place, only to be the subject of what appeared to be alcohol-fueled vandalism.

"They were definitely intoxicated," Soto said.

Neighbors had this to say about the suspects, now being sought for a possible hate crime.

"I think that they're idiots. I think they have no respect and they wouldn't do that where they live," Angelo Ruth said.

The church plans to repair the damage and possibly encase the statue in a protective box so it can't be touched, only admired.


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