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Vandal breaks into landmark Catholic church in North Hollywood and causes extensive damage

Vandal breaks into landmark Catholic church in North Hollywood and causes extensive damage
One of Los Angeles' best known Catholic Churches was badly damaged by a vandal who broke into the landmark North Hollywood chapel Wednesday morning and caused more than $100,000 worth of damage, police said. (Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times)

The interior of one of Los Angeles' best known Catholic churches was badly damaged by a vandal who broke into the building Wednesday morning and caused more than $100,000 in damage, police said.

The perpetrator also set fire to trash bins along Moorpark Street, damaged two cars and scrawled graffiti on a Chase Bank building. The perpetrator used a pole to smash a window to enter St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church at 10800 Moorpark St. The Spanish colonial style church is known for its distinctive bell tower.

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Los Angeles Police Deputy Chief Horace Frank said the vandal’s motive remains unknown, but given the randomness of the targets, investigators do not believe the incident is a hate crime.

Inside the church, several statues and stained glass windows with ornamental fittings were smashed.

"There is significant property damage; paper was strewn about, things spilled," said LAPD Sgt. Barry Montgomery.

Masses for Wednesday were canceled but they were expected to resume Thursday.

The parish remains home to Cardinal Roger Mahony, who led the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for decades, but whose reputation was severely tarnished by cover-ups involving child sexual abuse by priests and more than $700 million in legal settlements with victims.

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