Wave of desecration! Vandal tags Ridge houses of worship

Wave of desecration! Vandal tags Ridge houses of worship
Photo by Paul Martinka

A blasphemer armed with red spraypaint vandalized half a dozen religious buildings in Bay Ridge overnight on July 29 — and police sources say they have brought the likely culprit in for questioning.

The heretic defaced religious images, doorways, flagpoles, and walls at Union Church of Bay Ridge at the corner of 79th Street and Ridge Boulevard, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church at the corner of 84th Street and Ridge Boulevard, Bay Ridge Jewish Center at the corner of 80th Street and Fourth Avenue, Saint Mary’s Antiochan Orthodox Church on Ridge Boulevard between 80th and 81st streets, and Saint Anselm’s Church on 82nd Street between Third and Fourth avenues. The apostate also tagged a building at the corner of 81st Street and Ridge Boulevard now belonging to Bay Ridge Preparatory School — a non-denominational private academy — that had formerly been the property of Union Church. Officials at the houses of worship described the crime as the act of a madman.

“I don’t think there is any reason why anyone would harm this church, I see this as the work of someone who is unwell,” said Father Anthony Alimnonu of Saint Anselm’s, where the desecrator drenched a crucifix in red paint. Several statues in the garden at Saint Anselm’s suffered vandalism in June.

Alimnonu said he believes there is no connection between the two defacings, and — given the number of other institutions hit with graffiti — does not think Saint Anselm’s is a target.

“This is a very quiet community, this is a very loving community,” the priest said. “We do not feel like we are under siege.”

A spokesperson for the Bay Ridge Jewish Center echoed Alimnonu’s sentiments.

“It wasn’t really threatening. It just seemed like somebody who wasn’t right in the head,” said an administrator at the synagogue and community center, who declined to give her name.

Still, the desecration was cause for anger.

“It’s a shame, it’s frustrating. It looks terrible,” said the administrator. “People were upset. It’s our building, it’s our property, and it’s been defaced.”

The 68th Precinct brought a man in for questioning in connection to the vandalism around noon Tuesday, though they had not arrested him or charged him with any crime. But a source at the precinct said he was confident that the man was the culprit.

“I’m really proud we got him,” the insider said.

Cops said they are treating the vandalism spree as a hate crime.

State Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge), a member of the congregation at Saint Anselm’s, is offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the criminal. Golden’s aide and fellow parishioner John Quaglione — who is challenging Councilman Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) for his seat — is offering an additional $500.

Vandals have struck houses of worship in Bay Ridge a number of times over the years. In 2012, heathens knocked over a statue of the Virgin Mary and beheaded the likeness of a lamb at Visitation Monastery on Ridge Boulevard.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at twitter.com/WillBredderman.

No religion: The vandal spray-painted the word “No” on the doors and walls of several Bay Ridge religious institutions, including Union Church.
Photo by Arthur De Gaeta