Baby Jesus statue vandalized again at a Sudbury church

For a second time in six years, vandals have beheaded a statue of Jesus at a church in Sudbury’s downtown core.

Officials at Sainte-Anne-Des-Pins Catholic Church said the statue of Mary and baby Jesus has been vandalized on two separate occasions this year alone.

"The statue itself seems to be an article they focus on," said Michel Chretien, with Sainte-Anne-Des-Pins. "First of all, the arms were broken maybe a month and a half ago, and then the head itself was gone."

In addition to the statue being damaged, those involved with the church said there has been other property damaged over the past few years.

"We’ve had wires for the internet, wires for the air conditioning cut -- even a few weeks back we had a small tree cut on the grounds,” Chretien said.

The church has added surveillance cameras as well as private property signage around its grounds, but Chretien said that has not kept vandals away.

"We do pick up 10 to 30 needles a day, especially in the mornings. At the moment, we are studying the possibility of putting a fence around the church grounds. It should be done within the next (year) or so,” he said.

Greater Sudbury Police said in the past several months, officers have conducted 960 patrols either on foot, by bike or in their cruisers in the downtown area.

"This is a 52 per cent increase in comparison to last year," said Kaitlyn Dunn, a spokesperson for the Greater Sudbury Police Service. "During COVID-19, we have seen a lot of our vulnerable population displaced in the downtown core and with this reduction in foot traffic as well as vehicle traffic, we have seen an increase in the visibility of crime. So, break and enters, mischiefs, and property thefts."

Dunn said it’s important for community members and business owners to report all property crimes through the online reporting system.