Police in Windsor Locks, Connecticut are investigating the decapitation of a religious statue as an act of vandalism, but the statue's owner said it's a hate crime. "It just hurts me so bad, I want to cry,"Darlene Fraga said. The Virgin Mary statue that once stood tall on her front yard, is destroyed and Fraga is devastated.
A few weeks ago, someone or perhaps a group of people, decapitated the statue, police said. Fraga said about a week after that, the statue's head was replaced with a gnome. "They took a sledge hammer and decapitated her, and took her crown of roses and rosary beads," said Fraga. Windsor Locks police said they don't have a suspect, but believe kids may have done it. Authorities added that the incident is among a string of random vandalism in the area.
However, Fraga believes her property was targeted and that the incident is a hate crime. "That's up in my yard. That's not near the corner. That's right on my yard," said Fraga. While it's difficult for Fraga to see her once precious statue ruined, she said she won't remove it until she's ready. I think after I get over the initial shock, I'm going to take the whole thing down, said Fraga.
While she feels the statue is irreplaceable, she hopes justice is served. "Whoever did it, God knows and you know. It's riding on your shoulder now," said Fraga. In the meantime, one of Fraga's friends is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. The person or persons responsible will be charged with criminal mischief, police said.