A Stoney Creek man has been arrested on a series of charges after a drunken rampage through a downtown church – which allegedly included bathing in the holy water, vandalizing religious objects and trying to light a wine-soaked altar on fire, police say.
It happened on Saturday afternoon around 3:45 p.m. at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church on Park Street North. According to police, an intoxicated man and woman went into the church and once inside, started yelling and swearing.
The man went over to a large holy water bath and started washing himself, police say. Another woman who happened to be inside the church at the time saw what was going on told the man to leave and scolded him for disrespecting the church.
The man and the woman left, only for the man to return a short time later – now shirtless – and approach the altar, take a glass of wine that was sitting beside a chalice and pour it over a piece of cloth. The man then took out a lighter and started burning the cloth, police say, but the wine kept the cloth from totally igniting.
The suspect then went into the sacrament room where he knocked over several religious items and threw holy bread, which is used for communion, all over the floor. The man then broke into a cabinet at the back of the church that was full of rosaries and religious items, police say. He put on a beaded rosary before the woman once again escorted him out of the church and this time, called police.
When officers got there, the man was found shirtless on the ground outside wearing a rosary and “in an intoxicated state,” police say.
A 26-year-old man was arrested and charged with mischief under $5,000, arson and damage to property, two counts of failing to comply with his probation, theft under $5,000 and possession under $5,000.