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An American tourist's pilgrimage to the holy city of Jerusalem took a dark turn when he was arrested for vandalizing a statue in the Old City church. The Israel Police received reports of the destruction at the Church of the Flagellation, located on Via Dolorosa Street.

According to the Times of Israel, the vandalized statue was identified as the Scourged Savior, a prominent figure in the Christian faith. Eyewitnesses captured the altercation on video and shared it on social media, showing the security guard tackling the suspect and holding him down until the police arrived. The damaged statue lay shattered on the ground as the suspect, a man in his 40s, was taken into custody for questioning.

Vandalism and its Consequences

According to Criminal Defense Lawyer, Regardless of the specific classification, acts of vandalism are considered criminal offenses and can result in fines and imprisonment. Individuals who engage in vandalism may also be required to pay restitution for the damages they have caused, which can be costly for both the vandal and the victim. To avoid these consequences, it is essential to respect the property of others and refrain from engaging in acts of vandalism.

The cost of the damaged property determines the severity of punishment for vandalism crimes. While the cost limit that separates a misdemeanor from a felony can vary, it typically ranges from $500 to $1,000.

In some places, the specific type of damaged property can also impact the classification of the crime, with damage to a motor vehicle typically considered a more severe offense. It's important to note that the damage to the property is a significant factor in determining the seriousness of the crime and the associated penalties.

The vandalism incident at the Church of the Flagellation in Jerusalem is being investigated as a potential hate crime. The suspect, identified as an American religious Jew, has been arrested and taken into custody for questioning. The police are also checking for any potential mental health issues.

Also Read: Vandals Desecrate Christian Cemetery on Mount Zion in Jerusalem 

Vandalism and Hate Crimes are Still Rampant

The Custody of the Holy Land, which represents the Vatican, has stated that this is just one in the past month of attacks against the Christian community in Israel. The police have indicated that they are taking the matter seriously and will continue to enforce action against violence and vandalism in all religious sites.

Early January, in a story in Christianity Daily, security footage from a vandalized Christian cemetery in Jerusalem reveals two religious Jews, identified by their kippahs and tzitzit, committing the attack. The graves, including that of the second Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem, were targeted in what the Anglican Church calls a "hate crime" fueled by religious bigotry. The vandalism has sparked outrage and condemnation from religious leaders and officials, including the Archbishop of Canterbury and the U.K.'s Chief Rabbi, who has called for the perpetrators to be held accountable. The cemetery has been vandalized in the past.

Related Article: Desecration of Jerusalem Christian Cemetery: Two Suspects Arrested, Justin Welby and Israel's Foreign Ministry Speak Out