Sept. 13, 2021 By Allie Griffin
A 23-year-old woman is facing hate crime charges after she was arrested Friday for smashing two statues outside a Forest Hills Catholic Church in July.
Officers cuffed local resident Jacqueline Nikiena on charges of criminal mischief as a hate crime and aggravated harassment Friday.
Nikiena was caught on camera destroying two statues — one of the Blessed Mother and one of St. Therese the Little Flower — outside Our Lady of Mercy parish in the early morning hours on July 17, according to police.
Surveillance video shows her topple the statues — which have stood outside the church, located at 70-1 Kessel St., since it opened in the 1930s. She then dragged the statues into the street and repeatedly smashed them.
The statues, which were more than 80 years old, were left in pieces.
“Both of these statues have stood in front of the church since it was built [in 1937],” Father Frank Schwarz, the pastor of Our Lady of Mercy, said at the time. “It is heartbreaking, but sadly it is becoming more and more common these days.”
A GoFundMe launched to raise money to replace the statues has brought in more than $25,000.