By Tia Lynn Ivey
A Madison man was arrested last week after embarking on a vandalism rampage, destroying a statue of the Holy Mother Mary outside of St. James Catholic Church and tearing apart Town Park in downtown Madison.
According to Madison Police Det. Wes Thompson, Quentravius Brown, 27, was arrested on Wednesday, June 10 after a witness called in to report a man damaging the park. According to Thompson, when officers arrived Wednesday morning around 10 a.m., Brown was still at Town Park amidst a disaster.
“He had broken chairs, benches, flipped over trash cans, even put a trash can in the fountain,” said Thompson. “He also broke some of the railings on the gazebo.
Police received a tip that Brown was seen near St. James Catholic Church earlier that day, where an outdoor statue of St. Mary had been found knocked over, with the head shattered.
“We questioned Brown about the statue and he admitted to doing it right away,” said Thompson.
Police estimate that Brown caused nearly $10,000 worth of damage between the broken statue and vandalism to Town Park.
According Sally Hoge, a member of St. James Catholic Church, who purchased the St. Mary statue in 1998 in memory of her late father, the statue cost $2,200.
“This is very personal to me,” said Hoge. “I feel like someone took a little piece of heart. I’ve been just heartbroken over this.” Hoge had the idea to erect the statue of Saint Mary outside to give members a place to pray at anytime. Over the years, parishioners added a garden and benches around the statue to create the perfect outdoor environment to pray and reflect.
According to Hoge, who is working with the church on how to replace the statue, the original statue depicted Mother Mary with open, welcoming arms and was made of Italian marble.
According to Thompson, after Brown was spotted near the Catholic Church, and allegedly pushed over the statue, he headed to Town Park where he allegedly began breaking chairs, benches, railing and flipping over trash cans.
“Some of it was captured on video,” said Thompson, who estimated the damage at Town Park would cost around $7,000 to fix.
Brown was arrested on the spot and taken into custody.
Thompson said there was no clear motive as to why Brown engaged in the vandalism spree, but suspected Brown could have some mental health issues.
“Sometimes, there’s no reason behind what they do,” said Thompson.