Santa Cruz police arrested a man Friday suspected of vandalizing a historical church statue dating back to the 18th Century, the department said. Officers spotted Lee Wilson, 54, near Pacific Avenue and Cooper Street at around 6 p.m. Police said Wilson was holding piece of wood that looked like it could be part of a statue. While the officers were talking to Wilson, police received calls reporting that a wood statue had been vandalized about 20 minutes earlier at Holy Cross Church, located at 126 High St.The 3- to 5-foot statue, created around 1791, was from the original Mission Santa Cruz, and rests above an alter in the archway of the church’s chapel, according to police. Police said the statue is considered priceless because of its history and rarity. Wilson was arrested and booked into the county jail on suspicion of felony vandalism, grand theft and probation violation.
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