WATSONVILLE, Calif. (ChurchMilitant.com) - A woman in California was arrested after allegedly wrecking several pieces of religious art — including a large crucifix in a Catholic church's sanctuary.
Surveillance video from St. Patrick's Church in Watsonville, California shows a woman walking up to the large wooden crucifix near the main altar and pushing it over. The woman hurries back up the aisle as the crucifix crashes to the floor. According to authorities, this was part of a spree of similar crimes.
The suspect was identified by witnesses as a 23-year-old woman with a prior history of drug abuse.
She is accused of going on a vandalism rampage in Watsonville in Santa Cruz County in the middle of the day on Feb. 6. Her crime spree was spread out over several blocks on Main Street, and she apparently was targeting religious items. It is also thought that drug use might have been a factor.
A video report from local news outlet KSBW 8 says that the woman's crime spree began with stealing roses. Next, she stole and destroyed religious items at a store and stole food from a bakery next door.
The owner of the bakery says the suspect had been causing problems there for months.
She then walked to St. Patrick's Church and wrecked the 15-foot crucifix. She toppled a religious statue in a nearby "prayer room" and took down two other pieces of religious artwork. Two parishioners were in the room praying and reportedly were appalled by the woman's behavior.
After that, she walked to yet another store and tried to steal a religious statue. She allegedly got into an argument with an employee, then threw the statue to the floor and broke it.
The suspect was arrested a little more than two hours after the crime spree began and was brought to Santa Cruz County Jail. She is facing a whole slew of charges, including burglary and the defacing of property.
Investigators say that the woman caused about $15,000 worth of damage.
Christopher Salas from KSBW 8 said on air that the suspect is not being charged with a hate crime, surprisingly, because the law defines hate crimes as actions targeting an individual.
The spree of theft and vandalism on Feb. 6 began around 11:40 a.m. and ended shortly before 2:15 p.m. with the suspect's arrest.
Anti-Catholic vandalism is a growing problem in Western countries.
On International Women's Day in March 2018, radical feminists vandalized two churches in Madrid, Spain with spray-painted graffiti.
In August 2017, a pair of teenagers interrupted Mass at a parish in Canada by blasting vulgar music. After the alleluia, a visiting Polish priest was about to read the Gospel when a teen approached the altar, played a vulgar rap song on his phone and held it up to the microphone.
Also in August 2017, St. Barnabas parish in Bayville, New Jersey was hit with satanic spray-paint graffiti, including upside-down crosses.
In Bologna in northern Italy, a historic statue of St. Petronius, the city's patron saint, was vandalized in June 2016 with spray-paint reading "Allah Akbar."
In Ireland in August 2017, pro-abortion activists put up a T-shirt on the main altar in a Catholic Church calling for a "repeal" of the country's Eighth Amendment, which protected the unborn child's right to life. The Eighth Amendment would be repealed by popular vote less than a year later, in May 2018.
Our Lady Queen of Peace Church in Delray Beach, Florida was vandalized in May 2016. Satanic symbols were spray-painted on the walls, and devotional statues were desecrated with black spray-paint.