Search is on for church hate crime vandals

MAYWOOD, Calif. Investigators said the vandalism is extremely graphic, calling it heinous.

Pictures from the /*Maywood Police Department*/'s Web site shows what vandals did to the church on 4430 West 60th St. The church is a mostly Hispanic parish of about 10,000.

The two suspects who broke into the church and ransacked the kitchen area were caught on surveillance camera, and investigators are trying to figure out who they are.

"They destroyed the image of Jesus and the Virgin Mary and the parish hall," said Father David Velasquez.

The suspects wrote 666 in ketchup on the walls, stuck a knife through a painting of the Virgin Mary and took a cross and displayed it in a sacrilegious manner. Police said the suspects went as far as to defecate in the auditorium, located next to the kitchen.

"We're sad for what happened, but more than the damage they did, we're worried for the damage in the hearts of these people. I think the action reflects what is going on in their hearts," Velasquez said.

Parishioners said they can't understand why anyone would commit such an offensive crime.

"I get upset because this is my church," said parishioner Humberto Herrera. "I don't see why there would be people doing something like that to my church."

Police do not have any suspects in the case, but they believe the vandalism happened either late Sunday or early Monday.

Police need the public's help finding whoever is responsible. Anyone with information is urged to call the Maywood-Cudahy Police Department at (323) 562-5005.

The church said it plans to hold a special prayer service on Friday to talk about the vandalism and the suspects.

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