MIDTOWN, Manhattan (PIX11) — A vandal has targeted three religious locations in Midtown Manhattan, including clergy residences at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the NYPD said Wednesday in identifying a suspect they’re seeking in the string of attacks.
Juan Velez, 28, allegedly hurled a wrench at a glass outer door of the clergy residences near East 50th Street and Fifth Avenue around 12:25 p.m. Oct. 28, according to authorities. Though no one was in the residences at the time and no break-in was attempted, officials said, the strike badly damaged the door.
Around 11 a.m. the next day, Velez allegedly ripped a flag outside the All Saints Episcopal Church on East 60th Street near Second Avenue, also damaging the wooden front doors of the house of worship, police said.
Hours later at about 9:50 p.m., he allegedly threw an unknown object at a glass door at the Archdiocese of New York’s headquarters on First Avenue near East 55th Street, damaging the entrance, authorities said. Velez allegedly picked up the object and ran off, officials said.
The NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force is investigating the incidents. The department publicly identified Velez as a suspect Wednesday evening, though any possible motive for his alleged actions was not immediately clear. He’s described as about 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.
Anyone with information in regard to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the CrimeStoppers website at https://crimestoppers.nypdonline.org/ or on Twitter @NYPDTips.