Woman caught on camera vandalizing Watsonville church

$15,000 in damages to church

Woman caught on camera vandalizing Watsonville church

WATSONVILLE, Calif. - A woman went on a vandalism spree in Watsonville and caused thousands of dollars worth of damages to a church there. 

According to police, 23-year-old Jackeline Chavira went to multiple businesses on Wednesday and destroyed property, but it is St. Patrick's Church on Main Street that suffered the most damage. 

Surveillance video showed Chavira walking into the church around 12:15 p.m. and knocking over a 15-foot crucifix. Police said she then ran over to a prayer room and threw religious statues on the ground before tearing down large pieces of religious artwork while two parishioners were in the room praying. 

The Watsonville Police Department said Chavira left up to $15,000 in damages at the church. 

"Her next stop was a small business that sells religious items on the 400 block of Main Street. At about 12:22 p.m.,Chavira goes into the store and attempts to steal a religious statue. She argues with an employee before throwing the statue on the ground, causing it to break. She then leaves the store," said the Watsonville Police Department's spokesperson Michelle Pulido. 

A victim spotted Chavira near West Beach Street and Rodriguez Street, where she was eventually arrested. 

Chavira was booked into the Santa Cruz County Jail for vandalizing a place of worship, defacing property, burglary and disobeying a court order. Her bail was set at $25,000. 

KION's Zach Fuentes will have more at 5 p.m. 

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