German police were left bewildered after someone attempted to chop down a Christian cross sitting atop a mountain on the boarder of Austria recently.
Authorities discovered Tuesday the attack on the summit cross, which sits on top of the Schafreuter border mountain. Police had yet to identify a specific suspect, but were under the impression that a religious radical may be behind the incidents, The Local reported.
The latest cross cutting incident marked the third time the cross has been tampered with since May. The first instance was not initially reported to police but was detailed when police arrived on the scene of the second cross cutting in July after a cattle herder saw someone chopping down the cross through binoculars. The most recent cross cutting was spotted by a helicopter pilot flying over the mountain.
Although local German police haven’t narrowed down a motive for the cross cutting, spokesperson Josef Mayr told Austrian newspaper Tiroler Tageszeitung that the cross chopping could come from anti-religious organizations looking to “free” the mountain from religion or Christian symbols.
The only description police have so far is of the man the herder saw after the second cross cutting. Authorities say he is probably in his mid-thirties, around 5’11 and fairly strong. Witnesses were only able to give this account after a man was heard bragging about the cross cutting in a nearby mountain hut. They say he had a foreign accent.
Police are asking hikers in the area to keep watch and snap pictures if they see anything suspicious.
“This is the only way we have a chance to catch him,” Mayr said.
According to Austrian authorities, no reports of the perpetrator have been made on the Austrian side of the boarder.
Schafreuter is a mountain at the boarder of Barivia, Germany and Tirol, Austria in the Karwendel range. The area is a very popular destination for summer hiking and winter ski tours.