By Mary O’KEEFE
Several religious statues were destroyed or damaged at St. Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church in the 500 block of South Central Ave. in Glendale.
Witnesses reportedly saw a man, later identified as Victor Petrescu, 23, of Glendale, approach the monuments with a sledgehammer.
“The witnesses were going to try to stop him but he had the sledgehammer and they were in fear [of their life],” said Sgt. Tom Lorenz, GPD.
There were two Glendale detectives driving in the area at the time and noticed the suspect hammering on a statue on the front lawn of the church. The detectives identified themselves as police officers and the suspect allegedly looked at the detectives, took his mallet and went over a fence. The detectives gave chase and detained Petrescu. One of the detectives who was on that initial call is now in charge of the investigation, Lorenz said.
“The case is being presented to the district attorney’s office as a hate crime,” Lorenz said.
The following charges were filed today by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office:
Felony Vandalism of Religious Property, vandalism enhancement due to the value exceeding over $50,000.00 and misdemeanor possession of a sledgehammer with the intent to commit vandalism and graffiti. They have also filed to have Petrescu’s driver’s license suspended or revoked.
Initially the suspect allegedly made statements pertaining to the Bible and the destruction of sacred pillars. He then mentioned he was Jewish but now says he is Christian, Lorenz said.
The damage to the church’s property is estimated at $80,000. Bail has been set at $150,000.