Man charged with destroying religious statues


German Mauricio Cruz is charged with criminal mischief. According to court documents, Cruz is accused of destroying an angel in front of Queen at Peace Catholic Church along Telephone Road near Wayside. He's also accused of decapitating the head and breaking off the hands of one of the church's Our Lady of Guadalupe statues.

A security guard and at least one other witness saw the incident on December 9 and caught Cruz afterwards, the court documents state. The security guard was working at a nearby auto dealership when he heard a loud crash at the church. He found a 5-foot fiberglass angel destroyed and then he saw Cruz knock the head off the Our Lady of Guadalupe statue with a long-handled metal piece.

According to court documents, Cruz picked up the head of the statue and tried to flee on his bicycle, but the security guard and others from the neighborhood caught him and held him until authorities arrived.

Cruz, 27, is being held on $15,000 bond. He has two prior burglary convictions, one in 2006 and one in 2001.

The church told authorities it would cost $4,500 to repair the damage.

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