Waterbury’s Holy Land cross vandalized, police investigating

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WATERBURY -- Police are investigating after the iconic Holy Land U.S.A. cross was defaced over the weekend.

Waterbury Police said they received their first complaints from the owners on Sunday night.

The vandals used spray paint to draw graffiti on the cross according to police. Police said the drawings included multiple pentagrams and other satanic symbols.

"I couldn’t believe people actually would vandalize it, I was disheartened," Jane Uricchio who works in Waterbury said. "It's ridiculous I mean, it is a symbol but its a symbol for everybody I mean whether you’re Catholic or not."

"My reaction is disappointment," Waterbury Alderman Steven Giacomi said. "Regardless of beliefs, Holy Land is a symbol of Waterbury, most people know it, they associate Waterbury with it and I’ve had a lot of constituents the last 24 hours, of all faiths, reach out to me to tell me how disappointed they were."

"Unfortunately its something that's difficult to secure completely so we have had incidents here whether people get up there to explore or fly drones and things like that," Giacomi said.

Investigations have turned up a few leads and police are following up on them.

The no trespassing signs on the Holy Land gates were ignored.

"I couldn’t believe people actually would vandalize it, I was disheartened," Jane Uricchio who works in Waterbury said. "It's ridiculous I mean, it is a symbol but its a symbol for everybody I mean whether you’re Catholic or not."

Sikh Temple leader Inderjit Singh echoed that sentiment. "That’s absolutely wrong," Signh said. "No religion teaches us to insert or disregard any religion, anybody, anyone, so we should always have peace have respect to every religion."

The Holy Land Board President Chuck Pagano said somebody will be on site, Wednesday, to survey the damage and the cost to fix it.

The incident remains under investigation.

Forty thousand people visited this park annually it's heyday during  the 1960's.  The park closed in 1984, but it's been in the process of being restored .

The 18 acre park was purchased by a group of local businessmen in October 2013, including Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary.

The goal of the purchase was to preserve the park.  In December 2014, a 52-foot, internally lit cross went up on the highest point on the holy land property.

The most visible change is the clearing of hundreds of trees and masses of brush and overgrowth that had covered the entire hill.

Signs posted on the property warned people that the area is a construction zone.