$2 million gold relic stolen from Park Slope Roman Catholic Church
An irreplaceable gold tabernacle worth $2 million was stolen Monday from St. Augustine’s Roman Catholic Church in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood, The Washington Post reported.
Described as a “brazen crime of disrespect and hatred”, the tabernacle – a vessel used in the rite of communion is “irreplaceable because of its historical and artistic value”, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn said in a statement .
The robbery was discovered on Saturday by Father Frank Tumino, a church pastor who was on his way to hear confessions at a parish up the street. When he passed St. Augustine, he noticed that one of the doors was open and upon entering the church, he quickly found the crime scene.
A metal casing on the altar was forced open with an electric saw, allowing the solid gold tabernacle to be ripped out, adorned with jewels donated by parishioners. Statues of angels on either side of the tabernacle were also “beheaded and destroyed”, the diocese said. And an empty safe was also found destroyed.
Church officials said the burglary happened on Friday, while police gave a wider window saying it happened between Thursday evening and mid-Saturday afternoon. There were no witnesses and no surveillance footage was available, police said. However, it is assumed that several people were involved in the heist, given the weight of the golden tabernacle.
“It is devastating because the Tabernacle is the center of our church outside of worship, containing the Body of Christ, the Eucharist, which is delivered to the sick and confined to the home,” Fr. Tumino said.
“Knowing that a burglar has entered the most sacred space of our beautiful church and taken great pains to cut into a security system is a heinous act of disrespect.”
Monday night, there were no leads on any potential suspects. Anyone with information about the burglary should contact the department’s crime unit.
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