Sault Ste. Marie church vandalized
Sault Ste. Marie police are investigating some acts of vandalism including an incident at a church. Officers were called to Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church on MacDonald Avenue after parishioners discovered a collection of statues had been damaged or destroyed.
The statue of the Virgin Mary in the grotto behind the church is now behind Plexiglas after it had been knocked over and several statues of children at her feet damaged beyond repair. Reverend Paul Conway, a pastor at the church said he was saddened to hear about the statues.
"There is something inside of people that are wounded, hurting, and don’t know how to deal with it," Conway said and adds no decisions have been made whether to replace the statues.
"Do we replace them? And if we do, what else do we have to do," he said. "I think most people in the parish would like them, but if there is, there’s going be a lot more ‘how do we make sure that nothing like this happens again.'"
In the meantime, investigators with the Sault police are looking for suspects and a motive.
"There was no evidence at the scene when officers arrived that point to this being hate crime-related," police spokesperson Lincoln Louttit said. "There’s no other evidence other than the damaged property. However, due to the nature that this did happen at a church, we do have officers looking to ensure that that isn’t the case."
Police are also looking into an incident downtown during which a number of flower planters were knocked over. However, the president of the Sault Ste. Marie Downtown Association, Salvatore Marchese, said since hiring private security to patrol the area at night, such incidents have been declining.
"Security has been going for about six weeks now," Marchese said. "It's usually routine patrols and occasionally there’s a minor incident here or there."
Meantime, Sault police are asking anyone who may have witnessed either incident or has surveillance footage, to contact them. They're also reminding people not to report crime via social media. Instead, they say to contact police directly and speak to an officer.