Virgin of Guadalupe mural defaced at Van Nuys church, suspect sought

The Los Angeles Police Department sought the public's help to identify the man who used a sledgehammer to deface a hand-painted mural of the Virgin of Guadalupe at a Van Nuys church.  

Security cameras at St. Elisabeth Catholic Church on 14655 Kittridge St., near Van Nuys High School, captured the man approaching the mural with a sledgehammer at about 1:40 a.m. on April 21. 

The man was seen smashing the tiles that form the virgin's face before fleeing the scene.

A felony vandalism report was made with the LAPD, according to Officer Mike Lopez of the LAPD Media Relations Division.  

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The hand-painted mural was installed at the church 35 years ago as a symbol of unity and each tile was sponsored by a parish family.   

The church will also install a bulletproof barrier in front of the new mural to prevent further damage.  

The suspect was wearing all black clothing with a yellow neck gaiter at the time of the vandalism and fled westbound on Kittridge Street on foot.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the LAPD's Van Nuys station at 818-374-9500.

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