Only weeks before thousands of Long Islanders walk the Stations of the Cross to commemorate Good Friday, a sacred statue was discovered defaced with a crowbar or hammer.
But as WCBS-TV's Jennifer McLogan reported, good-hearted people are coming to the rescue.
A grandmother from Southampton learned of the disturbing vandalism along the well-worn path of the Stations of the Cross at Our Lady of the Island in Manorville and donated $250 toward its repairs.
Fundraising to replace the $5,000 handcrafted statue is being spearheaded by an unlikely source – Pokemon Go players on their social media accounts.
"Me and my family love coming out here to play Pokemon Go," David Ringhiser told McLogan. "This actual statue is a PokeStop."
In fact, there are some 30 PokeStops on the 70-acre grounds of the shrine.
When Ringhiser and his children stumbled on the site, they were heartbroken.
"I'm not really a religious person but I like to give back to the community," he said.
Inside the chapel, candles were lighted and prayers offered.
"Tears come to your eyes and you just can't believe that someone would do something so horrible," said Angela Sala.
"It's Lent time, it's Easter time. We feel hurt, you know we do feel hurt about the whole situation," Andrew C'Onofrio said.
Rev. Peter D'Abele told McLogan nothing is locked, the property is open to all.
"We really don't know who it was or why," he said.
He said he's taken aback by the response from outsiders to help. Some have dropped off checks, others donated through the church website, but the biggest surprise was Pokemon – from a group of local firefighters to players from as far away as California.
D'Abele said good may come of this and hopes statue funds can be raised before Good Friday.
Suffolk County CrimeStoppers is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.
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