Statues Vandalized

 

(Story and photos used by permission from The Desert Sun)

        Our Lady of Solitude vandalized, statue beheaded

Tatiana Sanchez, The Desert Sun 1:01 p.m. PDT June 25, 2015

(Photo: Tatiana Sanchez/The Desert Sun)

Noreen Romero stops by Our Lady of Solitude Church in downtown Palm Springs every day during her morning walk. She says a prayer and leaves a rose at the foot of a statue of the Virgin Mary.

But when she walked by on Thursday morning, Romero found that the two statues mounted at the church's entrance — one of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary and another of the Sacred Heart of Jesus — had been defaced.

"I always put a little white rose on the statue's feet. I went over to do it and someone had busted off its head. They had (also) defaced the other statue," she said through tears.

"I'm just kind of shocked that something like that is going on here."

While the statue of the Virgin Mary had been completely beheaded, the statue of Jesus had significant damage to its face.

Romero, of Santa Cruz, who is vacationing in Palm Springs for a few weeks, takes walks through the Old Las Palmas neighborhood at about 5 a.m. every day.

A church employee noticed the vandalism at the same time Romero did.

"We both just lost it," she said.

A statue of Jesus was vandalized at Our Lady of Solitude Church in Palm Springs Thursday. (Photo: Tatiana Sanchez/The Desert Sun)

This is the second time in less than a month that the church on W. Alejo Road has been hit with vandalism, according to church staff.

On May 23rd, two large statues in the church's courtyard were broken. Staff found the statues shattered into pieces and ultimately removed them, leaving only the bases on which they once stood.

"If you put it all together, we're talking about a couple thousand dollars," said parish secretary Lupita Jaquez of the damages the church will have to recover.

Jaquez said the incidents are taking place in the middle of the night or early in the morning and that "they're personal" because the vandal damages the religious figures' faces.

The head of the Virgin Mary's statue laid on a desk at the entrance to the church office Thursday. Palm Springs police was on scene at about 9 a.m.

Sgt. Paul Abshire said they haven't identified any suspects and don't know if the same person is behind the acts of vandalism.

"Whenever you have similar vandalism or crimes take place that's something you look at," he said. "We don't know for sure in this case."

The investigation is ongoing and will be passed on to the department's detective unit, Abshire said.

Our Lady of Solitude is one of the city's religious landmarks.

Built in 1929, the church marks the beginning of the annual Virgen de Guadalupe pilgrimage, a 30-mile religious pilgrimage that spans the entire Coachella Valley.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

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