Park Slope

$50,000 Reward Offered for Century-Old Tabernacle Swiped From NYC Church

Statues of angels flanking the tabernacle were decapitated and destroyed during the Memorial Day weekend heist, the church has said

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A $50,000 reward is being offered for an "irreplaceable" religious artifact cut out of a Catholic church in Brooklyn during a daring heist over Memorial Day weekend, church leaders said Tuesday.

The pure 18-karat gold jeweled tabernacle, worth an estimated more than $2 million, was snatched from St. Augustine Roman Catholic Church in Park Slope. Its absence was discovered on Saturday, May 28. The tabernacle is more than 100 years old and dates back to when the church was built in the 1800s, officials have said.

While its estimated worth is high, church leaders say the tabernacle is mainly irreplaceable because of its historical and artistic value. Property damage was reported, too. The angels that flanked the relic were decapitated and destroyed.

Investigators have said they think the thieves forced their way into the church, which was under construction, sometime between Thursday, May 26, and that Saturday. They then cut their way through a metal protective casing to remove the tabernacle.

Church officials were horrified to find statues of angels decapitated and destroyed, in addition to the Holy Eucharist that was kept in the tabernacle scattered across the altar.

“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, pastor of St. Augustine, said at the time. 

Police released photos of the damage done by the thieves, but no suspects have been publicly identified.

The $50,000 reward is being offered by the company that insures Diocesan properties and is on top of a $3,500 reward the NYPD publicized earlier this month.

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