Hate Crime Charges Filed Against St. Mary’s Vandal

Prelate meets with Glendale Police Chief

GLENDALE–Los Angeles County prosecutors now consider vandalism to a stone monument at St. Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church to be a hate crime, reported the Glendale News Press Friday.

The vandalism charges filed against 23-year-old Glendale resident Victor Petrescu were amended Thursday to reflect the change roughly one week after he was arrested in front of the church. Witnesses said he used a sledgehammer to smash a cross stone monument.

After the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office filed felony vandalism charges, Glendale Police Chief Ron De Pompa asked prosecutors to reconsider the evidence for the hate crime enhancement.

“It was simply based on additional analysis,” district attorney spokeswoman Shiara Davila-Morales told the Glendale News Press of the decision to amend the charge.

Petrescu, who police said is Christian and of Romanian descent, has also been charged with felony vandalism of religious property and a misdemeanor count of possessing tools with the intent to commit vandalism, according to a criminal complaint.

On Tuesday, August 17, De Pompa visited the Western Prelacy and briefed Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian on the investigation and provided background on the matter to Prelacy officials.

De Pompa was joined by sergeants Tom Lorenz and Harout Bouzikian to discuss the incident last week. The Prelate was joined by St. Mary’s Parish Priest Rev. Vazken Atmajian, and Executive Council members Levon Kirakosian, Esq., Garo Eshgian, George Chorbajian, and Toros Kejejian.

The Prelate thanked Chief De Pompa and the Sergeants for their time and efforts in pursuing this case, and requested to be kept abreast of new information as the case develops. 

The Prelate was informed Wednesday about the District Attorney’s decision to reclassify the case as a hate crime.

That Petrescu allegedly purchased the sledgehammer before smashing the cross stone proved the incident was premeditated, making it grounds for a hate crime, De Pompa explained to the Glendale News Press.

“To me, that clearly indicates that it was a preplanned act, not just a spontaneous-type event that I think the [district attorney] really needed to reconsider,” he was quoted as saying by the News Press.

Petrescu was spotted by two Glendale police detectives on Aug. 11 hammering into the cross stone at St. Mary’s Church.

The monument was donated to St. Mary’s in 2001 to mark the 1700th anniversary of Armenia’s adoption of Christianity as a stat religion. It also serves as a memorial to the victims of the Armenian Genocide. The “douf” stone—a rare volcanic rock—was shipped from Armenia. The damage to the cross stone was assessed at $80,000.

The monument, which was donated to the church in 2001, sustained an estimated $80,000 in damage to its carvings, although church officials have been trying to determine whether it can be repaired.

The News Press reported that Mayor Ara Najarian had also met with police to monitor the handling of the case and determine why prosecutors didn’t initially file it as a hate crime.

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7 Comments

  1. Mike Gomez said:

    It is so deeply disturbing that Mr. Petrescu would carry out this act of barbarism to this beautiful stone monument. His actions should be detested and his motives denounced. This said, I would advice and suggest to the Parish leaders of St. Mary’s Church to save their money and leave the monument as is in its state to serve as a reminder to everyone whom views it that hate and evil co-exist. It should remain as a symbol of what man is capable of doing not only to a stone monument, but to our culture, religion and faith. Save the “douf” as it is. I will visit and pay my respects in memory of the Armenian Genocide. And I will also pray for our salvation and contemplate that mankind is as ignorant today as in the past.

  2. Garen said:

    Aren’t Romanians A friendly Nation to Armenians??? I hope he feels sorry for what he did.

  3. Bo Didley said:

    his parents must be very proud, they run a daycare on Columbus, where this freak resides too. I say we boycott their business and ask them to leave Glendale!

  4. rd Demian said:

    Romanians are Orthodox and very tolerant. There is a Romanian Protestant movement which started strong during the Communist times. They are offended by Crosses and graven images. Totaly not typical.

  5. victor dorin petrescu said:

    “its so deeply disturbing for the fact that the reason why I Victor did is because Duet.7 clearly states”smash their sacred pillars” are you so ignorant of the Jewish people and out old Jewish Law who are you to say I hope he feels sorry of course he’s not sorry he wants no treaty and gives no pity!….I am truely blessed now i’m famous can you speak bad about a Romanian Jew who had his barmitz vah at the western wall. Are you against the Holy writings of Moses the prophet?! Your speaking on the behalf of people who dont know the true instructions of Deuteronomy 7 my numbers will be increased this is reality.

  6. victor dorin petrescu said:

    I am only defending my self…I dont live or “reside” on colombus as a rude person typed up real quick. read the 5th book of the bible Det.7 read it you’ll see!

  7. victor dorin petrescu said:

    Last comment I hate bribes

    p.s. my new name is The third Elijah….

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