Cops cuffed a man for allegedly vandalizing a shrine statue at a Gerritsen Beach house of worship on Saturday.
Jonathan Bulik, 37, of Gerritsen Avenue, was taken into custody and charged with criminal mischief as a hate crime and criminal mischief with intent to damage property for allegedly daubing a statue of Mary, the Blessed Mother, with black spray paint shortly after 11:30 a.m on July 8 on the grounds of Resurrection Church.
The Rev. Thomas Doyle, the church’s pastor, said parishioners passing by the church that morning noticed a man covering the recently-erected statue with black spray paint and were able to detain him until police arrived on the scene.
The white marble statue of Mary was spray painted with black all over her face, shoulders, and hands. The word “fake” was also spray painted on the statue, along with lines down and across the figure.
Doyle said one parishioner who owns a cleaning company offered his services for free, returning the statue to its former glory on Monday afternoon.
In relation to the hate crime charges against Bulik, Father Doyle said he hoped there would not be any repercussions for his family, who live locally, and that justice to take its course.
“We don’t want to be the target of vandalism or hate, but it does happen,” Doyle told Brooklyn Paper. “I think we have to try to be a little more understanding sometimes. If it’s a true mental health issue that needs to be addressed, then we have to address the mental health issue. I’m going to leave the technical things to those who are wiser than I.”
The Diocese of Brooklyn described the incident as a “hateful act” and one of two “disturbing acts” at Catholic Churches over the weekend in New York City — just two months after two men threw a brick through the window of the Catholic Charities of Brooklyn building in Brooklyn Heights.
In a separate incident in Queens on Saturday, July 8, the diocese reported that a man “acting erratically” entered the sanctuary at St. Joseph’s Church in Astoria, disturbing a youth choir practice “and frightening the children”.
“The Diocese of Brooklyn is grateful to the parishioners and staff in both incidents who stepped in to hold the perpetrators until the police arrived,” a spokesperson said.