LEWISTON — A local man was arrested Friday morning and charged with stealing religious statuary from Holy Family Church at 607 Sabattus St.

Matthew Chapman Lewiston Police Department

Matthew Chapman, 37, was arrested at Motel 8 on Lisbon Street and charged with theft and violating conditions of release.

Police said the case will be forwarded to the Maine Attorney General’s Office Civil Rights Division.

Investigators have also summonsed a local woman, Jennifer Tetmeyer, 39, in connection with smashing a window at the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul on Ash Street on Aug. 7. That vandalism had been caught on a security camera at the church.

At Holy Family, church statuary was stolen and some damaged over recent weeks. In an early September incident, some statues appeared to have been smashed against a wall.

The Rev. Daniel Greenleaf, pastor of Prince of Peace Parish that oversees five Catholic churches in the city, reported finding a statuary head in the bushes when he investigated the damage.


Other statues — and pieces of them — have been found in the back seats of cars as police investigated the thefts.

Greenleaf said his churches have also been beset by graffiti and by drug users hanging out in doorways.

On Sept. 16, a man in a car was discovered stealing statutes and was chased away by an angry parishioner.

Nonetheless, Greenleaf said Friday he was relieved to hear that police had made an arrest.

“The Lewiston Police have been nothing but amazing,” he said. “Officer Joshua King was attentive and concerned for us, as well.”

The pastor said police have kept him apprised of their progress in the investigation. He also sympathized with the suspect arrested Friday.

“From what I understand, the suspect has a number of issues,” Greenleaf said, “and it is my hope that he receives all the help he needs. I wish him no harm and continue to pray that we care for each other instead resort to violence and destruction.”

Security footage taken Aug. 7 at the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul on Ash Street in Lewiston shows an unidentified woman casting a rock, which shattered a window in the building. Police have identified her as Jennifer Tetmeyer, 39, and summonsed her in the incident. Submitted by Lewiston Police Department

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