BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) —A string of vandalism against Catholic churches in East Bakersfield.
Some parishioners fear these acts mean something darker.
The San Clemente Mission Parish has seen a handful of vandalism over the last couple of months.
The statue is of Saint Clement also known in Spanish as San Clemente. The vandalism happened about two weeks ago and parishioners are upset.
“It hurts me because this is the house of God,” Sarah Pulido a concerned parishioner said. “It’s our second home and it hurts us that they damage the property.”
The vandal was captured on camera. There is footage of the surveillance video that shows a person dressed in black breaking off the statue’s head. This was not the first time that people broke into the property to vandalize.
“It looked like he was doing satanic rites,” Pulido said. “They brought a bird, they cut off its head, they cut off its body and they tied its head to the statue of the Indian woman.”
A secretary at the parish told us about the recent history the church has had with trespassers performing acts of witchcraft.
“We had things placed under the Virgin Mary’s feet,” Erika Morales the Secretary at San Clemente Mission Parish said. “We’ve found weird things like dead birds. They placed things on her hands, they put a cross upside down. We see people in the videos but we can’t see the faces.”
Staff members said a “satanic altar” was recently found behind the church.
“They made a cross with the rocks, they made symbols with the dirt,” Morales said. “There were candles, fruit I don’t know why. There was a bird that had no head too.”
The San Clemente Parish is not the only church to be vandalized. Its sister church St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, a mile away, was vandalized just a few days ago. A rock was thrown through its stain glass window and it’ll cost more than 20,000 dollars to get it repaired.
This isn’t the first time the window has been broken. Three years ago, someone also broke the window with a rock. The church filed a police report with the sheriff’s department.
The total cost in damages over the last couple of months between both parishes is between 50,000 to 70,000 dollars.
The San Clemente Mission Parish as well as Diocese of Fresno are working together with the Kern County Sheriff’s Office. If you’d like to donate you can go to the offices at San Clemente Mission Parish in Bakersfield.