WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. - Following a nearly monthlong investigation, police have arrested a suspect implicated in vandalizing a statue with a baseball bat at Columbus Park in Yonkers in August.
Yonkers Police were dispatched to Columbus Park shortly before 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 29, where there were reports of a vandalism incident.
Upon arrival, officers reported that a bust of Christopher Columbus was missing from its pedestal and later found it, heavily damaged after it “appeared to have been forcibly removed from its rightful location without permission or authority and subsequently damaged,” prompting the investigation.
After interviewing witnesses and reviewing surveillance video, detectives from the Yonkers Police Department Intelligence Unit determined that there was probable cause that 27-year-old Yonkers resident Emmanuel Santiago Batista was a suspect in the case.
Batista was arraigned on Monday and charged with a felony count of third-degree criminal mischief after the investigation determined that Batista allegedly destroyed the bust in an act of spontaneous vandalism by striking it with a baseball bat.
The case is now under the jurisdiction of the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, which is prosecuting the case.
“Due to the steadfast hard work of our patrol officers and detectives, we were able to identify the person responsible for vandalizing this tribute to Christopher Columbus,” Yonkers Police Commissioner Charles Gardner said. “He will be held accountable by the Criminal Justice System.”
In the days following the vandalism, Westchester County Executive Rob Astornio vowed to prosecute any suspect to the fullest extent of the law.
“The attack on the Christopher Columbus statue in Yonkers constitutes a criminal offense. Whoever committed it will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he said. “The statue craziness is getting absolutely ridiculous and must stop. We are a society of laws, not mob rule.”
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