Man bashes sign outside FOX 11 studios with crucifix he stole from church

This surveillance image released by Ashwaubenon Public Safety shows a man who went inside Nativity of Our Lord Church in Ashwaubenon Feb. 9, 2018, and stole a crucifix.

ASHWAUBENON (WLUK) -- Ashwaubenon Public Safety is looking for a man that they say stole a crucifix from a church and used it to damage the digital sign outside of FOX 11’s studios.

Members of Nativity Parish say as they waited for 9 a.m. Mass to begin, they became terrified when a man hiding his face came into the chapel, complaining loudly about the Catholic Church.

“I had this horrible feeling that next he might be pulling a gun or something like that,” said a Nativity parishioner who did not want to be identified. “You see so many things on television and it was pretty terrifying.”

“He had a scarf over his face and began playing the piano and then lit up a cigarette inside the building,” said Capt. Jody Crocker of Ashwaubenon Public Safety.

Parishioners say the man claimed he was Jesus Christ and was “going to take care of this.” After being asked to leave, parishioners say the man took the crucifix from behind the altar, ran outside, and took off in his car with it.

Shortly after Nativity parishioners reported the man to police, is when he showed up outside FOX 11. The man can be seen in surveillance footage swinging the crucifix at the FOX 11 digital sign 10 times before an employee chased him across Lombardi Avenue.

The man dropped the five-foot-tall crucifix across the street, before cutting through yards to his blue Ford car parked on Shadow Lane.

“We don't know what this person's real motivation is as of yet, but we do have concerns because this bizarre behavior could lead into something else,” said Crocker.

De Pere police say they had similar incident at Life Church a week ago. They say man was speaking negatively about the church. Police say the man brought a suspicious package from his car into the church. Police called in the bomb squad. Nothing dangerous was detected and police say the man was taken into custody safely.

“Unfortunately this is happening not only at churches,” said Jedd Bradley, a community resource officer for De Pere police. “It's happening at businesses, schools.”

Police say the man responsible for the Life Church incident is not the same one that was at Nativity Parish and FOX 11.

Police believe the suspect from Friday’s incidents is older than 25 years old, and clean shaven. He was driving a blue Ford, believed to be either a Focus or Fusion.

Anyone with information is asked to call Ashwaubenon Public Safety at (920) 492-2995.

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