Arrest Made in St. John Kanty Church Vandalism

Male smashed statue of Mary with baseball bat; left threatening note

Mike Baggerman
May 17, 2018 - 12:04 pm

Father Michael Burzynski from St. John Kanty Church in Buffalo with the damaged statue of Mary on May 17, 2018 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) – A male was arrested in connection with Tuesday’s vandalism at St. John Kanty Church in Buffalo, according to the church pastor.

Father Michael Burzynski from the church told WBEN on Thursday that the individual was arrested on Wednesday night. Buffalo Police confirmed after our report that they arrested 18-year-old Kalil Colbert of Buffalo and charged him with Criminal Mischief in the Third Degree, Aggravated Harassment in the First Degree, and Hate Crime/Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree. The suspect allegedly used a baseball bat to smash a statue of Mary which stood adjancent to the church. Father Burzynski also said he threatened to burn the church in a threatening note.

“We’re a little bit more relieved now,” Burzynski said after telling us about the arrest.

Burzynski added that cameras on the property plus nearby homes and residences helped aid in the suspect’s capture.

Damaged statue of Mary at St. John Kanty Church on May 17, 2018 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

Now, the church is evaluating what to do next. The damaged statue is still outside the church but it was moved closer to the church when WBEN visited the site on Thursday morning.

“It’s fiberglass,” Burzynski said. “So we don’t know if it can be repaired. We will check into that. If not, we will replace it.”

He said the statue cost $1,000 when it was bought four years ago but now they’re looking to purchase a stone statue instead.

The church is accepting donations that will go towards purchasing a new statue. However, Father Burzynski said there is no gofundme page and that they will accept donations at the church, which is located at the corner of Broadway and Swinburne on Buffalo’s East Side.

During our interview with Burzynski, a woman from another church showed up to give a donation.

“I have a strong devotion to Mary,” she said. “People have a misunderstanding that Catholics worship Mary and they don’t. We honor Mary. We don’t worship her. I think that’s what the letter said that we worship her. I felt very bad and I wanted to make a little donation to the statue.”

Buffalo Police wrote the following on Facebook

Buffalo Police arrested an individual that destroyed a Blessed Mother Statue with a baseball bat and left a note inside the damaged statue. The statue was located at St. John Kanty Church on the 100 block of Swinburne. Buffalo Police arrested18-year-old Kalil Colbert of Buffalo and charged him with Criminal Mischief – 3rd degree, Aggravated Harassment – 1st degree and Hate Crime/ Aggravated Harassment – 2nd degree.

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