Arrest made in destruction of Ten Commandments tablet at NJ church

JERSEY CITY, N.J. — A man has been arrested in the smashing of Ten Commandments tablet at a Our Lady of Victories Catholic Church that happened on Holy Thursday.

Workers swept up the shattered remains of a tablet featuring the first three commandments. A second tablet, detailing commandments four through 10, was not destroyed.

"They put their fingers and hands against the stone plaque and just pushed it right off, right into smithereens," Father Michael, the parochial vicar, said.

There have been several acts of vandalism at the church in recent years, Father Michael added.

Less than 24 hours later, on Good Friday, 38-year-old Juan Matos or North Bergen was spotted in the area of the church and apprehended.

He is charged criminal mischief and desecration of venerated objects. Matos has no outstanding warrants. As of right now, this is not being considered a hate crime or biased incident.

In this instance, Father Michael doesn't know what it might have been about the first three commandments that may have angered someone and spurred the destruction. He also doubts the vandal knew it was Holy Thursday.

"Whether or not they know it's Holy Thursday, probably not. But when something is bothering somebody, they don't care what day it is," he said.