A 127-year-old $2 million jeweled tabernacle was stolen from a Brooklyn church by a crook who also decapitated an angel statue and stole the head, police said Sunday.
The thief got inside the church on Sixth Ave. near Sterling Place and cut open an ornate altar, stealing the pure 18-karat gold tabernacle, cops said. The crook also made off with the severed head of an angel statue.
St. Augustine Roman Catholic Church in Park Slope was closed for construction when the burglar struck sometime between 6:30 p.m. Thursday and 4 p.m. Saturday, police said.
The church’s website describes the tabernacle as “a masterpiece and one of the most expensive tabernacles in the country, guarded by its own security system.”
The precious metals and stones adorning the tabernacle come from coins and jewelry donated by parishioners, according to the website.
The church describes the security system as an “electronically operated burglar-proof safe” with “one-inch-thick ‘hardenized’ steel plates which roll on ball bearings and completely enclose the tabernacle.”
The Diocese of Brooklyn said Sunday that the crook “cut through a metal protective casing” to get to the tabernacle inside.
“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,” Rev. Frank Tumino, the church’s pastor, said in a statement Sunday.
“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.”
Tumino discovered the theft Saturday.