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Virgin Mary Statue On Mass. Traffic Island Smashed

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WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts pizza shop-owner says he’s heartbroken that someone smashed a statue of the Virgin Mary he had placed on a traffic island.

Antonio Liquori, owner of Liquori’s Pizzeria, placed the statue on the West Springfield island last year as part of a city beautification project.

But people complained, and the city in May ordered him to take it down because it violated the constitutional separation of church and state. He did, but Mayor Gregory Neffinger allowed Liquori to put it back, pending a legal opinion.

Liquori tells The Springfield Republican someone smashed the statue last month while he was in Italy.

Liquori tells WWLP-TV he’d consider replacing it if others want him to, and he’d rather the vandal had just taken it, not smashed it. He says, “It’s a personal thing. It’s not a toy.”

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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