Police say an illegal immigrant caused tens of thousands of euros worth of damage to a recently restored church organ inside the Collegiate Church of Neuchâtel in Switzerland.
On Tuesday, the man broke into the church with the intention of spending the night inside. While on the premises, the man committed “significant” damage to the church organ, which had recently been restored for 550,000 Swiss francs (€530,000). He was immediately arrested on scene.
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Police say the man suffers from mental illness, but an ongoing criminal investigation is being conducted by the local public ministry, according to a police report.
The organ was built in 1872 but has been silent since 1996. It was only this year that the musical instrument could be played again after an ambitious restoration project.
The duty prosecutor has opened a criminal investigation for aggravated property damage and will request pre-trial detention with the coercive measures court.
Police say the man had no religious motivations for the attack, but churches in Europe have increasingly become the target for vandalization in recent years.
In some cases, the Hungarian government has step in and donated the necessary money to restore vandalized churches, such as when it offered €30,000 to repair a church targeted by migrants on the Greek island of Lesbos.