Suspects identified in church vandalism

Three teenage suspects have been interviewed in connection with the desecration of the Anthony Chapel in Hof-bei-Salzburg earlier this week.

Suspects identified in church vandalism
Symbolic image. Photo: Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe

According to a report in Region News, the three boys were identified as suspects yesterday, and two of them subsequently confessed during an interview with police.  The boys are aged between 14 and 17-years-old.

The external facade of the church was damaged with some sort of heavy tool, and then obscene images were painted on.  Side windows and front door glazing were smashed, guttering torn down, and a wrought-iron grill was damaged.

Additionally, the altar of the church was smeared with dog excrement, a holy picture was damaged and a small statuette of Mary was smashed.

The latest incident is one of dozens of similar attacks on churches and chapels that have occurred in Austria over the past few years, as reported previously in The Local.

Regarding the investigation, "It was tedious work, but successful", police spokesman Anton Schentz told the APA. 

"We quickly established an unusually high pressure investigation, because people were seriously upset about the damage to the chapel, which is very popular among local hikers," he said.

The three are believed to have gone on an alcohol-fueled rampage on Saturday night, and were traced after apparently bragging about their actions to friends, leading to a chain of rumours that eventually reached the ears of the police.

All three will be charged with severe criminal damage by the Salzburg prosecutor's office, amounting to more than €2,000.

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