A South Miami-Dade woman targeted a nearby church for vandalism Saturday night because she was of the Catholic faith, according to a Miami-Dade police arrest report.
The report also states that surveillance cameras at St. Timothy’s Catholic Church, 5400 SW 102nd Ave., captured Alfa Illescas painting walls and a camera, as well as a literal ransacking of the church.
Illescas, 44, who lives less than half a mile from St. Timothy’s, was arrested Sunday afternoon on one count of criminal mischief against a church or place of worship. His bail will be set on Monday. Illescas is aware of the release from county jail, having posted $500 bond for his release following a March 27 arrest on a criminal mischief charge over $1,000.
The report of that arrest says a car owner’s cellphone video caught her spray painting her car.
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Saturday night at St. Timothy’s
According to the arrest report, surveillance cameras caught Illescas entering the East Gate of St. Timothy around 10 p.m. Saturday. The report says cameras caught her painting ‘perverts’, ‘pigs’, an upside-down cross and ‘liars’ with a smiley face. After knocking over trash cans and before smashing a saint’s altar, according to the report, she spray-painted the camera facing the altar of the Virgin Mary.
Police said they found Illescas at her home wearing the same clothes as in the video.
On Sunday, the Archdiocese of Miami released a statement that read, “It is a tragedy that a sacred place like a Catholic school and church property is being vandalized. It’s a hate crime. The Archdiocese of Miami and administrators of St. Timothy’s are cooperating fully with the investigation. The kindness of the parents is evident as they are on hand (on Sundays) to help clean, paint and repair damaged walls.
“The Archdiocese has learned of the suspect’s arrest, and as the justice system plans for the journey this woman will make, prayers are offered that she finds peace.”