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Massachusetts man allegedly broke arms off crucifix outside Boston cathedral after swinging from it


A Massachusetts man is facing charges for vandalizing a crucifix outside a cathedral in Boston, leaving the 150-year-old statue with broken arms. 

Police say around 6:14 p.m. Tuesday, Michael Patzelt, 37, of Attleboro climbed up the cross in front of Cathedral of the Holy Cross prior to swinging and hanging from it. His actions allegedly broke several parts off the cross prior to officers responding and placing him under arrest. 

“We appreciate the swift action by the Boston Police Department in apprehending a suspect. Whatever motivated this person to damage the crucifix, we know it can be repaired and continue to be a source of prayer and hope for the faithful and all those who find comfort in the Lord. We ask that people pray for the individual and for peace in his heart,” a statement from the Archdiocese of Boston said. 

Patzelt is accused of knocking off a woman’s hat prior to the vandalism, which is what got police on his tail.

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“I pushed him,” Tashana Watson, who was shopping with her son at the time, told WFXT-TV. “I pushed him like four times to get him away. And then he grabbed my hair and my hat and threw it. Then he tried to have a conversation, something to the effect of, just shoot me.”

The TV station said Patzelt caused about $20,000 worth of damage to the cross and found out he has multiple convictions on his record after attending his arraignment Wednesday.

“I’m looking at his record and I see a man who has seven pages of committed time … And then I go and I look at a 10-page Florida record, and it’s full of similar charges to what we’re seeing here today,” the judge said during the hearing. “I’m going to set a $5,000 cash bail … If we’re dealing with a mental illness, let’s get to the bottom of that ASAP.”

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 Michael Patzelt Boston crucifix alleged vandal

Michael Patzelt, 37, of Attleboro, Massachusetts, appeared in court Wednesday. (Boston 25 News/WFXT)

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Patzelt’s attorney reportedly told the court he is unemployed, homeless and “remorseful” for what he did. His client is due back in court Nov. 30.

Crews were seen fixing the vandalized structure outside the cathedral Wednesday. 



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