GLENDALE— A 23-year-old Glendale man who allegedly used a sledgehammer to smash a religious monument outside St. Mary's Armenian Apostolic Church pleaded not guilty Thursday to felony vandalism, officials said.
Victor Petrescu appeared in a Los Angeles County Superior Court in Glendale to answer to a list of charges that included felony vandalism of religious property — with an enhancement charge for damages exceeding more than $50,000 — a misdemeanor count of possessing a sledgehammer with the intent to commit vandalism and graffiti, and having a suspended and revoked driver's license, Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.
Petrescu remained in custody in lieu of $160,000 bail.
Glendale police had presented the case as a possible hate crime, but a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office said prosecutors settled with the felony vandalism charges.
"After reviewing the evidence, we felt that these were the appropriate charges," spokeswoman Shiara Dávila-Morales said.