March 29 2016
Vandals Damage Statues at Burlington Church
By: Rich Hosford
There is an investigation underway as a Burlington religious institution is dealing with some senseless destruction.
Police Chief Michael Kent reports that the Burlington Police Department is investigating the disturbing vandalism of three religious statues at St. Margaret Parish.
According to a release, Burlington Police responded Tuesday morning to the parish, located at 111 Winn St., for a report of vandalism. Upon arrival, Detective Thomas Carlson and Detective Albert Gagne noted that three religious statues had been vandalized. Two statues, which sit at the top of a hill on the property, had their hands severed and multiple sets of rosary beads removed and scattered on the ground. The third statue, located near the rectory and depicting the Virgin Mary, had its head severed and both hands removed.
The detectives are now engaged in an active and ongoing investigation, police say.
Officials believe the damage was done between Monday evening and Tuesday morning.
"This is a deeply disturbing crime committed against a religious institution in our community during a major holiday season," Chief Kent said. "We will undertake a thorough investigation and use all assets at our disposal to find those responsible and hold them accountable."
State Rep. Ken Gordon released a statement decrying the act and related it to an act of vandalism seen at other religious institutions.
“While the situation is under investigation and no motive behind the destruction has been uncovered, it is disheartening that the act follows those in past years directed at the Islamic Center and Temple Shalom Emeth,” he said. “No one should be made to feel uncomfortable in or around their place of worship. Burlington as a community will not stay silent as someone threatens the security of our neighbors. Once again, we remind ourselves that acts of destruction and intimidation do not define us. What defines us is our response to them.”
St. Margaret’s Father Frank Silva said many members of the community reached out to him on Tuesday after news of the vandalism spread.
“I’ve been very comforted, and the congregation can be comforted, to know there has been outreach from many in the community, Catholic and non- Catholic alike,” he said. “Being in solidarity with them can speak volumes to those who harbor whatever ill will they have that would cause them to do this kind of damage. They aren’t going to win.”
If anyone has any information on the vandalism or saw anything suspicious at the church, they are urged to contact the Burlington Police Department at 781-272-1212.