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Vandal smashes stain-glass window at Long Island City church as part of an attempt to destroy religious statue: NYPD

St. Rita's Church

A vandal tossed a traffic cone at a religious statue at St. Rita’s Church in Long Island City and smashed a stained-glass window on Friday night. (Photos courtesy of Brooklyn Diocese)

Feb. 16, 2024 By Bill Parry

Police from the 114th Precinct are looking for a vandal who smashed a window of a Long Island City church last week.

On the night of Friday, Feb. 9, Father Jose Carlos da Silva, the parish pastor of St. Rita’s Church, was in the rectory when he heard something smash into his church at 36-25 11th St. He saw a man in front of the chapel, who ran away after the pastor called out to him from a window. There was a prayer group meeting inside the church at the time of the incident, although no one was injured.

Security cameras captured the man as he came through the church gates and into a courtyard where he hurled a construction cone towards a statue of the Blessed Mother but missed. The cone instead smashed into a stained-glass window above the statue on the 11th Street side of the church near the rectory entrance. There was no damage to the statue.

“It was very disturbing and unsettling to hear breaking glass as a prayer group was gathered in the church,” Fr. da Silva said. “Luckily no one was injured, and the suspect did not try to come in.”

The traffic cone was found lying near the statue.

A vandal tossed a traffic cone at a religious statue at St. Rita’s Church in Long Island City and smashed a stained-glass window on Friday night. (Photos courtesy of Brooklyn Diocese)

“I believe the orange construction cone that was thrown was intended to hit the Blessed Mother statue, but the vandal missed,” Fr. da Silva said. “Instead, it hit one of our original stained-glass windows behind it. This is a hate crime against the Catholic Church and the perpetrator must understand that he has caused pain for the entire parish community of St. Rita’s.”

An NYPD spokesperson said Friday that the incident is not being investigated by the Hate Crimes Task Force but has been classified as “criminal mischief.” According to the Diocese of Brooklyn, the cost of the damage to the 60-year-old stained-glass window is estimated at $10,000.

The suspect was wearing a reflective vest over a hooded sweatshirt and he was wearing black pants.
Anyone with information in regard to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).

The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at, or on X (the platform formerly known as Twitter) @NYPDTips. All calls and messages are kept confidential.

Surveillance Video – St. Rita RC Church, Long Island City from Diocese of Brooklyn Press Office on Vimeo.

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