Edinburg police investigating vandalism at St. Joseph’s Church

EDINBURG — An investigation is underway here after St. Joseph’s Catholic Church was vandalized over the weekend, resulting in a broken stained glass window and the desecration of a statue of Jesus Christ.

Cleaning staff arrived Saturday morning to find that one of the church’s stained glass windows was partially shattered after having what appeared to be a piece of concrete thrown at it. Staff subsequently discovered the statue at the front entrance had been vandalized as well — its hands broken off and face chipped.

Daniel E. Flores, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville, tweeted about the incident on Sunday, calling it “a cause of great sadness in (him) and in the community.”

“Please pray for whomever was capable of such a thing,” Flores added.

The statue is a memorial to Ted Koen, the son of the church’s builder, who was killed in a car accident in 1957.

Pastor Greg Lebus believes the damages occurred sometime between late Friday evening and 8 a.m. Saturday. As far as a motive, Lebus said he “does not want to speculate just yet.”

St. Joseph’s does not have security cameras and Assistant Police Chief Orlando Garcia said investigators are working to obtain surveillance footage from surrounding businesses.

Garcia said the department has “no solid leads to follow up on” at this time.

The damages to the statue are estimated at $2,000 and those to the window at $1,000, according to the incident report.

The church is working to restore the statue and window with the help of the art department at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

After parishioners became aware of the vandalism during Sunday’s services, they took to social media to voice their frustration. A post that received approximately 1,800 shares on Facebook stated: “Whoever did this deserves to pay the consequences. In fact, get help because you just don’t do stuff like this. Especially a church.”

“Everybody was very upset, obviously,” Lebus said. “We pray that (the vandals’) hearts be touched. … Hopefully, they never do something like this again and they repent for their actions.”

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the Edinburg Police Department at (956) 289-7700 or the Edinburg Crime Stoppers at (956) 383-8477.