A Virgin Mary statue was beheaded in Ozone Park and police are investigating it as a hate crime, cops said.
Monday morning the St. Mary Gate of Heaven Roman Catholic church discovered the headless statue outside its doors. It was removed from the property shortly after.
“If this is a hate crime against a church, I believe it’s demeaning and disrespectful toward the religion and the community,” said Alessandro Damico, a member of the St. Mary parish.
Church representatives said police are looking into the incident and have no further comment.
“This is not to be accepted, especially for an icon in our community such as St. Mary’s Gate of Heaven,” said State Senator Joseph Addabbo.
The 104th Street church lacks outdoor security cameras, so cops will search the surrounding community for similarly reported incidents, said a police source.
The investigation is ongoing.
A bill to increase the penalty for hate crimes passed the state in 2000. A current bill to once more increase the penalties for criminal activity at places of worship passed the State Senate in June 2013, but did not pass in the State Assembly. It will most likely be reintroduced next legislative session, according to Addabbo.
-With additional reporting by Katelyn DiSalvo