Crime

Homeless man sentenced in vandalism at Mission San Luis Obispo church

The Rev. Russ Brown of Mission San Luis Obispo stands next to a statue that was vandalized Tuesday.
The Rev. Russ Brown of Mission San Luis Obispo stands next to a statue that was vandalized Tuesday. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

A homeless man accused of burning a Virgin Mary statue and damaging a historical painting at Mission San Luis Obispo church in November was sentenced Thursday to 160 days in San Luis Obispo County Jail and three years' probation.

Daniel Pettigrew, 25, had pleaded no contest to vandalism of church property before San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge John Trice. A no-contest plea results in a conviction without an admission of guilt.

Pettigrew is believed to have slipped into the church after 7 a.m. on Nov. 15. He ripped a painting from the wall, letting it crash to the ground, damaging the frame, investigators said.

He then set a fire at the base of a statue of the Virgin Mary, badly damaging the figure in several places, investigators said. A painting depicting Our Lady of Refuge with the baby Jesus was also damaged.

Pettigrew must stay away from the church and undergo mental health and drug counseling as part of the plea agreement.

  Comments