$2m tabernacle made of solid gold is stolen from Brooklyn church

·2 min read
A solid-gold tabernacle at a Brooklyn church that was stolen over the weekend. (Diocese of Brooklyn)
A solid-gold tabernacle at a Brooklyn church that was stolen over the weekend. (Diocese of Brooklyn)

A thief ransacked a New York City church and made with a $2m, solid gold tabernacle over the weekend, according to police.

Some time between Thursday and Saturday afternoon, when Brooklyn’s St Augustine Roman Catholic Church was under construction with its security cameras off, the priceless 19th century artifact was sawed out of the church’s alter, as the thief scattered holy items throughout the sanctuary and even beheaded an angel statue.

Thieves sawed the tabernacle off the church’s alter. (Diocese of Brooklyn)
Thieves sawed the tabernacle off the church’s alter. (Diocese of Brooklyn)

“I was here and just sick to the pit of my stomach!" Father Frank Tumino said after the burglary. “You’ve taken away something that is so beautiful, that has given people beauty in the midst of the ugliness of their lives at times.”

Police have not yet identified a suspect, or determined whether one person or a group of individuals took the tabernacle.

The jewel-encrusted artifact dates back to 1888, when the church, known as the area’s “Notre Dame,” first opened and began serving the German and Irish Catholic communities in the Park Slope neighbourhood.

“This holy sacramental receptacle is irreplaceable due to its historical and artistic value,” church officials wrote in a statement after the break-in. “The angels which flanked the Tabernacle were decapitated and destroyed, and the Holy Eucharist housed inside the Tabernacle was thrown all over the altar.”

Police have not yet identified as suspect in the brazen burglary. (Diocese of Brooklyn)
Police have not yet identified as suspect in the brazen burglary. (Diocese of Brooklyn)

“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,” Father Tumino added.

Congregants were pained to learn about the vandalism.

“Granted, this isn’t someone getting murdered or a kid being shot,” Shane Visbal, a longtime worshipper at St Augustine, told NY1, “but it’s like a direct hit on my neighborhood and on the community itself and on the Catholic community here too.”

Police are asking those with information about the robbery to reach to 1800-577-TIPS.