Church hopes to replace Virgin Mary statue

CALGARY — The church that saw its Virgin Mary statue stolen and defaced during what police said was likely a drunken prank has every intention of putting another of the religious icons outside, said its priest.

ALGARY — The church that saw its Virgin Mary statue stolen and defaced during what police said was likely a drunken prank has every intention of putting another of the religious icons outside, said its priest.

The nearly two-metre tall sculpture was stolen from St. Albert the Great Parish earlier this month.

The statue, valued at $2,500 and donated by a local family, was removed from behind an acrylic plastic cover.

It was later found charred, with both of its hands removed, in a ditch on Calgary’s south side.

Two suspects were arrested Friday.

Father Kevin Tumback said artists have visited the church and believe the statue can be restored.

“Right now it’s still up in the air,” he said.

“They think it can be restored but (it’s) not able to be put outside again.”

The church will likely purchase a new Virgin Mary sculpture to place in the same grotto outside the building. Tumback does not worry that could lead to copycat pranks.

“Are you kidding?” he said.

“Twice for the same church? You go to hell for that one.”

Instead of putting its faith in good behaviour by the public, the church may instead step up security on the outdoor display.

Benjamin Donald Carr, 21, and Kyle Alexander Dejong, 19, have been charged with one count each of theft and mischief to property.

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