An irreplaceable gold tabernacle worth $2 million was stolen from St. Augustine Roman Catholic Church in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Park Slope on Monday, reported The Washington Post.
Described as a "brazen crime of disrespect and hate" the tabernacle- a container used in the rite of Communion is "irreplaceable due to its historical and artistic value," the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn said in a statement.
The heist was discovered on Saturday by Father Frank Tumino, a pastor at the church who had been on his way to hear confessions at a parish up the street. When he passed by 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 opened with a power saw, allowing the solid gold tabernacle adorned with jewels donated by parishioners to be snatched. Statues of angels on either side of the tabernacle were also “decapitated and destroyed,” stated the diocese. And a empty safe was also found destroyed.
Church officials stated the burglary happened Friday, while police gave a wider window, saying it occurred between late Thursday and mid-afternoon Saturday. There were no witnesses, and surveillance footage was not available, according to the police. However, it is speculated that multiple people were involved in the heist, considering the weight of the gold tabernacle.
“This is devastating, as the Tabernacle is the central focus of our church outside of worship, holding the Body of Christ, the Eucharist, which is delivered to the sick and homebound,” stated Father Tumino.
“To know that a burglar entered the most sacred space of our beautiful Church and took great pains to cut into a security system is a heinous act of disrespect.”
As of Monday evening, there are no leads on potential suspects. Anyone with information about the burglary should contact the department’s crime unit.