Topless man throws rock at Jesus statue and sets garden on fire outside church

A man was caught on camera throwing a rock at a statue of Jesus and lighting it on fire in front of a church.

The bizarre incident took place outside the Saint Bernard Catholic Church in Sunrise, Florida, in the US at around 1.20am on Saturday, November 21.

Surveillance camera footage captures the topless man approaching the garden patch next to the church entrance where a white statue of Jesus perched.

He appears to be holding a rock over his head and hurls it directly at the statue, toppling it to the back.

The man leaves the site and returns with a can of accelerant, which he empties it on the garden and lights it on fire.

Father Jorge Rodriguez de la Viuda told WPLG Local 10 that not only were the hands broken from the Jesus statue, some other statues around the church were also damaged.

The statue of the Virgin Mary was beheaded and the statue of St Francis was also missing a head.

He said: "How could you do something so evil to a loving community?

"Thank God it didn't damage the wall or the building."

To the priest's surprise, some of the broken sculpture pieces were found shoved inside a storm drain.

The Saint Bernard Catholic Church estimates a loss of about $6,000 (£4,500).

"What he did is very sad, and I know it doesn’t represent who he is," Father Rodriguez de la Viuda said.

"I’d love to tell him that we love him and we’re praying for him."

The church posted on Facebook: "Last Saturday, November 21, 2020 our parish office building was vandalised by a person who destroyed the three statues that stood there for many years.

"We had reported to the Sunrise Police Department and we are praying for the conversion of the author of this criminal act against the catholic faithful."

The Sunrise Police Department is investigating.

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