2022 – $2 million residence stolen from the Catholic Church in New York City, NYPD says

Police say someone broke into the altar of a New York church, stole a $2 million gold artifact and removed the head of an angel statue.

The incident occurred 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 Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood.

The church was closed at the time for construction work. The pastor said camera footage from the church’s security system was also stolen.

The Archdiocese of Brooklyn called it a “shameless crime of disrespect and hate.”

The diocese said thieves or thieves apparently used a special saw to cut a protective metal casing and robbed a residence dating back to the church’s opening in the 1890s.

Police and the diocese said the tabernacle, a chest containing items for Holy Communion, was made of 18-karat gold and adorned with jewels, and was valued at $2 million.

The diocese said that its historical and artistic value cannot be dispensed with.
According to a guide published on the church’s website, the tabernacle was built in 1895 and restored in 1952 and 2000.

Described as “a masterpiece and one of the most expensive tents in the country, it is guarded by its own security system” that includes an “electronically-operated anti-theft safe” and 1-inch thick steel panels “encircling the entire dwelling.”

The diocese said statues of angels that surrounded the residence had been cut down and destroyed. A safe was also opened in the treasury, where the priests were preparing for Mass, but there was nothing inside.

The Eucharist, the bread consecrated as the body of Christ, was taken from the tabernacle and thrown on the altar.

In a statement issued by the diocese, Frank Tomino, pastor of St. Augustine, said the incident was devastating, adding “to learn that a thief had entered the holiest place in our beautiful church and made great efforts to violate.” Tomino said the security system was an outrageous act of disrespect.