The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens is offering members of the public a $50,000 reward for any information leading to the recovery of the value Tabernacle swiped from a Park Slope church back in May.
In a stunning act of pilfery, thieves broke into St. Augustine’s Catholic Church at Sixth Avenue and Sterling Place sometime over Memorial Day weekend, and cut through metal casing protecting the $2 million golden Tabernacle — which is said to hold the Eucharist, or body of Christ, and is a central item of worship at Catholic parishes.
The thieves then snatched the ornate, century-old emblem out of its casing and made off without a trace, leaving local worshippers confused and distressed.
Bishop Robert Brennan, who has held the top job in the Diocese since last November, posted the 50,000 clam reward on Tuesday, arguing that the Tabernacle was irreplaceable and extremely important to the church’s parishioners. The reward will supplement an existing $3,500 reward for information posted by the NYPD.
“We continue to pray for the one-of-a-kind Tabernacle, made possible by the original parishioners of St. Augustine, to be returned and then restored, in all its glory, to the heart of this church,” Brennan said. “However, the theft of this historical item has not robbed the faith of the people of this parish.”
The reward will be paid out by the Diocese’s insurance company, a church spokesperson said.
The luxe altar dated back to the late 1800s, when the church was first built in the Slope. The eucharist wafers encased in the Tabernacle were found strewn all over the place after the heist, while marble angels adorning the altar also sustained heavy damage. Angelic statues next to the golden shrine were even subject to decapitation.
Back in May, the pastor at St. Augustine, Father Frank Tumino, called the theft a “heinous act of disrespect” to a sacred space.
An NYPD spokesperson said that the investigation into the Tabernacle’s disappearance is ongoing, but that cops currently have no updates to share with the public.
Anyone with information regarding the burglary can call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (for Spanish, dial 888-57-PISTA). You can also submit tips online at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, or on Twitter @NYPDTips. All calls and messages are kept confidential.