Original translation by Henrik K. H/T Yucki
A 37-year-old asylum seeker, who was apprehended on Tuesday on suspicion of deliberately causing damage to several Vienna churches, has declared himself comprehensively guilty. The man admitted that in a total of six churches he had destroyed statues and damaged baptismal fonts.
The man had left behind a trail of destruction through Viennese cathedrals. In doing so, he caused massive material damage, which has so far left investigators puzzled. According to police in reference to his statement, the 37-year-old had committed his crimes in Pfarre St. Othmar, Kolonitzplatz, Bezirk Landstraße, in a church at Uhlplatz in the Viennese suburb Josefstadt, in Lazaristenkirche, Neubau, in Pfarrkirche, Neuottakring, in the main cathedral of Saint Stephan, and finally on Tuesday in Barnabitenkirche, Mariahilf.
Caught in the act in St. Stephen’s Cathedral
The man was first arrested on Saturday evening, when the 37-year-old threw the statue of the Holy Judas Thaddeus from its stand. As he tried to escape, intervention by employees held him back. Shortly after, however, the man was released, and only later it was discovered that he had vandalized several other churches. Due to their suspicions, the Vienna legal authorities issued a warrant for his arrest.
Early Tuesday the 37-year-old struck again, damaging two statues in Mariahilfer Pfarrkirche. Shortly thereafter the man was finally apprehended in Traiskirchen, Lower Austria.
The 37-year-old says he was on “tasked by God”
“He has made a complete confession, but is providing very confusing statements about his motivation. The man has stated that he ‘was tasked by God’”, said police spokesman Roman Hahslinger on Tuesday evening. The 37-year-old has explained that according to his belief, man must not create any idols.
“The suspect is not psychotic at the moment, but will be taken to prison”, according to Hahslinger. There is no immediate risk of self-inflicted harm or harm to others, but of course the mental state of the imprisoned will be examined. Political motivations for his vandalism are ruled out.