An angel statue was beheaded, and a solid gold tabernacle worth $2 million was stolen from the altar of a Catholic church in Brooklyn, New York.
According to The Christian Post, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn announced the robbery at St. Augustine Catholic Church, located in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn, in a statement on Friday. The diocese also noted that the New York City Police Department is investigating the "brazen crime of disrespect and hate."
"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," Father Frank Tumino, the pastor of St. Augustine, said in a press release. "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," he added.
According to the statement, the robber "cut through a metal protective casing" before stealing the decades-old Tabernacle, which dates back to the 1890s.
The angel statue near the Tabernacle was "decapitated and destroyed, and the Holy Eucharist housed inside the Tabernacle was thrown all over the altar," the statement continued.
Father Tumino discovered the destruction and theft on Saturday, May 28. Officials believe the robbery was carried out the day before on Friday, May 27.
In a statement to The Christian Post, the diocese's deputy press secretary John Quaglione shared that a motive for the robbery has not yet been established.
Quaglione also told The Christian Post that the parish is grateful for the outpouring of love and support amid the attack.
"The faithful of the Church are shocked and greatly upset by what has happened, and are turning to prayer. There is a sense of sorrow among the people of St. Augustine," wrote Quaglione in an email.
"People throughout the United States have been calling and contacting the parish and also expressing their prayerful intentions for the return of the Tabernacle. There continues to be a sense of hope that as the story has received so much attention, something as distinctive as this Tabernacle may possibly be returned."
Police have asked that anyone with information about the crime call the NYPD at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).
Photo courtesy: Channel 82/Unsplash, this is a stock image
Kayla Koslosky has been the Editor of ChristianHeadlines.com since 2018. She has B.A. degrees in English and History and previously wrote for and was the managing editor of the Yellow Jacket newspaper. She has also contributed to IBelieve.com and Crosswalk.com.