In a ‘Heinous Act of Disrespect,’ Thieves Stole a Golden Tabernacle Valued at $2 Million From a Church in Brooklyn

The church has made a plea for information about the theft.

The missing tabernacle. Photo courtesy tDeSales Media Group

A $2 million dollar tabernacle dating back to the 1890s has been stolen from a church in Brooklyn in a robbery that has left the community and congregation in shock.

Thieves broke into Roman Catholic church, St. Augustine’s, in Park Slope at some point between Thursday May 26 and Saturday May 28, when the theft was discovered, and took the golden, bejeweled tabernacle used to store the holy Eucharist, causing a significant amount of damage in the process.

“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,” the church’s pastor Frank Tumino said in a statement. “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.”

The thieves cut through the revolving door protecting the tabernacle. Photo courtesy DeSales Media Group

The gold tabernacle was housed in a decorative alcove behind a revolving door, meaning the thieves had to cut through metal in order to remove it from the church, and knocked the head off a statue of an angel in the process.

“By the time I got into church, all I smelled was the cuttings of the metal. Obviously, they came with tools to be able to do that,” Tumino told CBS News.

A statue of an angel was decapitated in the robbery. Photo courtesy DeSales Media Group

The pastor also told reporters that the thieves stole security footage of the event, which has raised suspicions that they might have had some help from the inside.

“I know it’s easy for people to say, yeah, it’s an inside job, but the reality is these are also very public buildings,” Tumino told CBS. He and his parishioners are hoping that the tabernacle will still be returned to the church, and have made a plea that it is not taken apart or melted down for sale.

“It’s significant to us in that it’s sacred. So, a sacred thing should not be cut up and sold. A sacred thing should not be melted down,” the pastor said.

The NYPD is asking for anyone with any information about the crime to call 1800-577-TIPS.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.