$2 Million Tabernacle Stolen From New York Catholic Church, Police Say | New York
Police say someone broke into the altar of a New York church, stole a $2 million gold relic and removed the head of an angel statue.
The incident happened between 6:30 p.m. last Thursday and 4 p.m. Saturday, police said Monday, at St Augustine’s Roman Catholic Church, known as “Notre Dame” in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn.
The church was closed for construction at the time. Camera footage from the church’s security system was also stolen, the church pastor said.
The Brooklyn Diocese called it a “brazen crime of disrespect and hate.”
The diocese said the thief or thieves cut through a protective metal casing, apparently with a specialized saw, and got away with a tabernacle dating back to when the church opened in the 1890s.
The tabernacle, a box containing Holy Communion items, was 18-karat gold and decorated with jewels, police and the diocese said, and is valued at $2 million.
The diocese said it is irreplaceable because of its historical and artistic value.
According to a guide posted on the church’s website, the tabernacle was built in 1895 and restored in 1952 and 2000.
It is described as a “masterpiece and one of the most expensive tabernacles in the country, guarded by its own security system”, which involves an “electronically controlled burglar-proof safe” and security plates. inch thick steel that “completely encloses the tabernacle”. ”.
Statues of angels flanking the tabernacle were beheaded and destroyed, the diocese said. A safe in the sacristy, where priests prepare for mass, was also opened but there was nothing inside.
The Holy Eucharist, bread consecrated like the body of Christ, was taken from the tabernacle and thrown on the altar.
Frank Tumino, the parish priest of St. Augustine, said in a statement released by the diocese that the incident was devastating, and added, “Knowing that a burglar has entered the most sacred space of our beautiful church and took great pains to cut into a security system is an abhorrent act of disrespect,” Tumino said.