Crucifix targeted for second time in two weeks

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EDMOND, Okla. - A vandal sets his sights on a crucifix at an Edmond church for the second time in just two weeks.

The statue of Jesus on the cross at Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church went 14 years without any trouble.

Now church members are dealing with, what some are calling, a hate crime.

On Halloween, a person strolling through the area was caught on surveillance video walking up to the crucifix at 7:30 in the morning and writing on the chest of Jesus.

"He wrote 'burn in hell, 666'," said Anne Keef, Facilities Mgr at Saint John The Baptist Catholic Church. "He's angry."

He was so angry, after the church cleaned the graffiti, that same person came back this past weekend and wrote the same thing again.

Only this time, they used a silver marker instead of a black marker.

However, to no surprise, Keef's reaction is one of forgiveness, not contempt.

"Could be somebody that's really hurting and might need the church for other reasons," she said, "and this is how he's bringing attention to himself, except he's bringing the wrong kind of attention to himself."

But this crucifix has become a popular target.

It's the same one that was stolen, and eventually returned, last month by area college students.

"Once we figure out who he is, we can figure out if it's done as a hate crime, or if it's just vandalism. What's going on?" Edmond Police Spokesperson Jenny Wagnon-Monroe said.

Police and church officials do not believe the two crimes are related.

But Keef hopes the crucifix will be left alone.

"It's a person that died for that person's sins," she said of Jesus, "so even though he wrote on Him, Jesus still forgives him."

Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church has tried to clean the graffiti off again, but the statue is difficult to clean and would cost $1,500 to replace.

That suspect was wearing a black hoodie, tan pants, and carrying a very distinctive black and white laptop bag.

Police urge the public to call them with any information.