Tabernacle, worth $2 million, stolen in Park Slope church robbery, Brooklyn Diocese says

NEW YORK — A burglary inside a Brooklyn Catholic church has left parishioners stunned.

CBS2’s Leah Mishkin has more on the $2 million heist.

It was a Sunday like any other. The music launched the mass while the faithful sang. But if you take a closer look at the altar, you might notice something is missing.

“We all believed that a sacred space would never be violated,” said Father Frank Tumino, pastor of St. Augustine Catholic Church.


Brooklyn Diocese

Tumino said St. Augustine’s Tabernacle in Park Slope was stolen. The sacred vessel that was used to perform the rites of Holy Communion was kept inside a steel box.

“The moment I walked into the church all I could feel was the pieces of metal. Obviously they came with tools to be able to do this,” Tumino said.

The parish priest said he did not know when the burglary took place, only that it happened between Thursday and Saturday. The NYPD said the rare tabernacle from the 1800s is 18-karat gold with jewels and is worth around $2 million.

For the parishioners, it was a piece of history and invaluable.

“It’s such a shock. It’s such an evil act,” Sharon Dawson said.

An angel statue was destroyed and another was damaged. There are security cameras at the church, but Tumino said the DVR with the video was also taken.

“It had to be someone who knew something inside,” parishioner David Flowers said.

“I know it’s easy for people to say, yes, it’s an internal job, but the reality is that these are also very public buildings. If the guy is here in the morning and people are praying, someone “one can hide. We don’t know. We haven’t been able to establish whether someone hid and then came out or hid and then let someone in,” said Tumino.

It is also unclear how long the person or persons spent inside the church.

“It looks like they were very well prepared,” Tumino said. “It’s a lot of destruction, so I’m really thankful no one was hurt.”

Tumino said he was praying for the tabernacle to be returned.

“It’s important to us because it’s sacred. So a sacred thing shouldn’t be cut up and sold. A sacred thing shouldn’t be melted down,” he said.

The NYPD is investigating and asking anyone with information to call their CrimeStoppers hotline at 1800-577-TIPS.

Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477)or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782)). You can also submit a tip via their website or via DM on Twitter, @NYPDTips. All calls are kept confidential.


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