HITCHCOCK — Vandals struck a statue of the Virgin Mary outside a church in Hitchcock during the weekend, knocking it to the ground and causing significant damage, police said.

The stone statue, which stood on a foundation in a gazebo outside Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, was found damaged early Sunday morning, Police Chief Clay Kennelly said.

The church is within 200 yards of the county fairgrounds, and has opened its parking lot to visitors attending the Galveston County Fair and Rodeo, which began last week.

Kennelly said the religious statue may have been desecrated by people eaving the annual event.

“We don’t have this type of thing happen here usually,” he said.

The statue was removed from its mount and fell to the ground sometime late Saturday or early Sunday, Kennelly said. The statue’s hands were broken and it sustained some cracks in the fall, he said.

Anyone with information that could help locate the vandals is asked to call the Hitchcock Police Department at 409-986-5559.

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