Transient arrested for allegedly vandalizing Jesus’ portrait at Watsonville church

WATSONVILLE (BCN) — A transient suspected of vandalizing a portrait of Jesus at a Catholic church in Watsonville Thursday afternoon was quickly arrested with the help of a parishioner, police said.

Jaime Solis, 53, was arrested on suspicion of vandalism, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia, police Sgt. Michael Ridgway said.

Officers responded to a report of vandalism in progress at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church at 721 Main St. shortly before 2 p.m., Ridgway said.

The caller, who was praying inside the church, saw someone throw an image of Jesus into the baptismal font and gave police a description of the suspect who ran out of the church, the sergeant said.

An officer saw someone who matched the suspect description on a path parallel to southbound Main Street, according to Ridgway.

Additional officers were called to the scene and detained the person, later determined to be Solis, Ridgway said.

The parishioner who witnessed the alleged vandalism positively identified the suspect, according to the sergeant.

Thursday’s incident was the second at the church this week. Another person, who police haven’t identified, damaged a statue on Sunday, Ridgway said.

Solis was arrested and booked into Santa Cruz County Jail, Ridgeway said.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the police investigation division at (831) 768-3350 or anonymous crime tip line at (831) 768-3354.

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