Religious statues beheaded at Portland Grotto

Religious statues beheaded at Portland Grotto

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by Jeff Thompson, KGW.com Staff

kgw.com

Posted on November 30, 2012 at 9:20 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 30 at 10:47 PM

PORTLAND -- Five statues at The Grotto in Northeast Portland were vandalized some time Wednesday night.

Someone entered the grounds of the Catholic shrine, near Northeast 87th Avenue and Beech Street, and stole the heads of three of the statues, according to Sgt. Pete Simpson of the Portland Police Bureau.

Father Jack Topper of the Grotto said a groundskeeper discovered the vandalism Thursday morning.

Portland police said Friday evening one of the statue heads was found perched on a post on the West end of The Grotto property and returned. The head belonged to the Virgin Mary statue.

"This is kind of like having your baby hurt," said Fr. Jack Topper. "It just doesn't make any sense whatsoever and so many people love The Grotto and will feel that pain today."

One statue was of Joseph holding the Baby Jesus. Both Joseph's and the Baby Jesus' heads had been removed, according to Simpson. He said the third statue was located in the burial grounds and was of the Virgin Mary. The statue had been knocked from its base and the head removed.

He said two small angel statues were also damaged. The statues are more than 100 years old and are made from Italian marble.

"In a way I feel sorry for the people who did this," said Father Topper, "because they're lacking something in their own life and I hope they find it someday."

Crime Stoppers has offered a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information in the case.

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