The familiar statue of Jesus Christ in front of Sacred Heart Church has once again become a target of vandals.
The statue, which is around 6 feet tall, was sprayed from head to toe with black paint. The crime most likely happened during the late evening hours of Monday or early morning hours of Tuesday, according to Avelina Garcia, Sacred Heart's parish secretary.
Even worse, Garcia said, is that the statue, which stands at the corner of 13th and M streets, was spray-painted by a vandal last week. A volunteer had removed the paint from the statue -- but someone vandalized it again this week.
Although Garcia said the church will clean up the mess again, it's disturbing that someone would desecrate the statue. "It's disgusting," he said. "It's people that are mad about life or angry. They just don't care. That's the only reason I can think of, why anybody would do this."
Garcia said the statue has been the target of vandals in the past. Several years ago someone even removed the statue from its base and stole it. The statue was later found in an alleyway, Garcia said.
Anyone with information about the crime can call the Merced Police Department at (209) 385-6905 or the department's automated tip-line at (209) 385-4725. Callers can remain anonymous.
Reporter Victor A. Patton can reached at (209) 385-2431 or firstname.lastname@example.org.