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Person of interest in custody after vandalism spree in Philadelphia: sources

Person of interest in custody after vandalism spree in Philadelphia, sources say
Person of interest in custody after vandalism spree in Philadelphia, sources say 01:57

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A person of interest was taken into custody on Thursday night in connection with a vandalism spree that targeted local churches and religious shrines in Philadelphia, sources said. 

SEPTA confirmed the person was taken into custody at the bus shelter at the Frankford Transportation Center. 

The stained glass windows of the St. John Neuman Shrine in Northern Liberties are duct-taped and patched up after police say someone put holes in them.

The Rev. Michael Cunningham, pastor of St. Peter the Apostle Church, says another priest told him the windows were broken.


"I came down and noticed all the glass, the shards of glass, and we end up finding, actually, a half a brick and two stones as well that were thrown through," Cunningham said.

Cunningham said the stained glass windows show the life of St. John Neuman and are relatively new within the past 10-15 years from Austria. It's not an easy or quick fix, he said.

"You need a skilled artisan to sort of correct what's been damaged," he said. "It should be able to be repaired, but it is extensive damage."

Sources believe the person who did that also vandalized several other places in the city, including the historic Mother Bethel AME Church in Society Hill, which had damage to the stained glass windows, too.

Cunningham says he was saddened to see the damage done over the city and the shrine, which he says brings peace to so many.


"And all the hecticness of the world is sort of left and people come into this oasis to experience tranquility," Cunningham said. "It's a beautiful reality, and any time something compromises that, it's a difficult thing to see happen."

"To do something like that comes from a place of — I would imagine — great despair and difficulty in life, so the places that he's damaging, oddly enough, may be the same places that actually give him that healing he needs," he added.

The church says the damage is estimated at about $20,000.

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