Someone vandalized three statues of holy figures at a shrine in Wauseon, and police are seeking information from the public.
A parishioner on Monday discovered the damage at St. Caspar Catholic Church’s Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes and Guadalupe, a series of three small prayer buildings, outdoor statues, and a Stations of the Cross set back on the property. Police were dispatched to the church, at 1205 N. Shoop Ave., about 1:30 p.m.
The plaster statues, including representations of Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Jude, were part of smaller shrines in the buildings. Two of the statues suffered damage to their faces, and the head of a third was removed. Police also found a cigarette wedged into the scrollwork of a crucifix in one of the buildings.
Church secretary Kasey Sekula said the vandalism probably occurred over the past weekend. She said a parishioner who visited the shrine on Friday reported no damage. The prayer buildings remain unlocked.
No one has reported witnessing the vandalism. “Right now, it doesn’t look like they have any suspects,” Wauseon Police Chief Kevin Chittenden said. He said the charge would likely be criminal mischief.
The value of the statues has not been determined.
St. Caspar Pastor Stan Tabor said he wasn’t surprised by the vandalism but feels sad that it happened.
“All kinds of devotions and places for our Catholic faith are to encourage us to be close to Jesus, to God, so all of these figures and statues are important for us as Catholics,” he said.
The church has experienced vandalism before. In recent years, the glass casing on one or two of the shrine’s Stations of the Cross has been broken, and a painting in the church was slashed.
Anyone with information about the vandalized statues can call the Wauseon Police Department at 419-335-3821.
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.