A white tarp held on by blue tape covers the Virgin Mary statue at St. Margaret Mary Church in Chino after it was beheaded by a vandal sometime last weekend. 

The statue has been a fixture at the church since the early 1970s.

Chino Police were informed of the vandalism early Monday morning. The head of the statue was found in nearby bushes.

St. Margaret Mary officials said this week there are no security cameras at the church at 12686 Central Ave., but at least one could be budgeted sometime this year. 

A time frame for the statue to be repaired, or possibly replaced, is not yet known.

Church officials believe the same person, or group of people who caused $5,000 of damage to two stone statues at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Montclair earlier this year may be responsible for the vandalism at St. Margaret Mary.

Surveillance cameras at the Montclair church recorded the crime, but the video was too dark to identify a suspect. That crime occurred at 4:30 a.m. Feb. 25.

The Virgin Mary statue at St. Margaret Mary is located on the south side of the church in the Our Lady of Fatima prayer area and has been the subject of vandalism in the past.

In September 2017, vandals tried to set the statue of fire. Scorch marks damaged the lower right side of the statue.

The church also had a rock thrown to a large stained-glass window picturing the Virgin Mary on Feb. 14, causing significant damage.

Father Mike Miller said the Our Lady of Fatima prayer area is scheduled to be moved to the front of the church when the sanctuary undergoes a major renovation next year. 

The renovation will include opening up space in the church and making it more accessible for people with disabilities. 

Anyone with information on the vandalism can call Chino Police Department at 628-1234.

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