Among the latest in an ongoing series of attacks on Catholic churches in the United States, St. Mary Catholic Church in Escondido, California, has been vandalized three times since Christmas.

Father Scott Herrera, the church’s pastor, told CNA Thursday that he believes the vandal, who was caught on security cameras in all three incidents, is the same person.

Father Herrera said that police notified him that a suspect was apprehended in connection with the vandalism. The suspect’s identity, however, has not been revealed yet to the church.

Father Herrera said that the man first vandalized the church on Dec. 25, 2022, and damaged a statue of the Virgin Mary and flower vases decorating the sanctuary. 

The same individual then visited the church again on Jan. 9 and Jan. 10, Father Herrera said, and did more damage to property. 

Father Herrera told CNA that the vandal caused more than $20,000 in damages. The church, he said, will have to find another $20,000 to pay for security measures such as new cameras, a guard and door locks.

The priest told CNA that while he considers the crimes a “hate crime” because the religious images were targeted, he hopes that the perpetrator of these crimes will seek help if needed.

“God forgives, and we forgive,” Father Herrera said. 

Full story at National Catholic Register.