A bizarre crime wave is sweeping across Germany, where fifty statues of Christ and other Christian figures have been defaced and smashed to pieces.
According to Heavy.com, dozens of Christian statues in the Münster region in west Germany have been destroyed, including one of Jesus Christ which had its head lopped off. Several statues of Christ and other saints are missing limbs or other fragments, while the facial features of still others are bashed in.
While they have yet to catch the perpetrators, police in the area say they suspect a "religious background" to the crimes. Officers also told local media they believed the vandalism was driven by "pure lust for destruction". Due to the dense Muslim population in the region, police were investigating six men with alleged links to Islamic extremists, but gave up after three left for Syria, one died and the other two dropped off the radar, according to Heavy.
Mirko Stein of the Münster police told local news show Lokalzeit Münsterland that "large numbers of the people in the neighborhood where the sculptures are shocked and scared...Based on the intensity of the acts of the perpetrator, one can already conclude that this act has a religious background."
German criminologist Christian Pfeifer believes crimes were committed by someone who is "angry" and "hates the Church".
Meanwhile, Breitbart quotes a newspaper from one town in Münster as stating that "not a day goes by" without attacks on religious statues in the town of less than 50,000 people, and the immediate surrounding area.
Günther Fehmer, who oversees the town's finances, said the town's Catholic communities are devastated by the destruction. "We're all very concerned by what is happening, and we're also angry," he said.
Fehmer estimated the cost of the damage to be a whopping six figure sum, and explained that the communities themselves will have to pay for statues' repair and replacement. Unfortunately, there is little than can be done to counter the wave of vandalism, he said.
"You can't take these sculptures inside in the evening and you can't watch them all night," he said. "And a video camera in public spaces is also problematic."
This is not the first time religious statues and artifacts have been targeted in the area: According to the German tabloid Bild, 40 sculptures have been defaced over the past two years.