Members of a Los Angeles church burglarized of several sacred items earlier this week asked Friday for the public’s help in finding those responsible for the theft.
Items including a large processional cross and a tabernacle, which houses the wafers used during services, were stolen from Santo Tomas Catholic Church on Pico Boulevard Wednesday night, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
"It appears the suspects hid inside the church," Capt. Vito Palazzolo said. "Perhaps in the bell tower overnight, until the staff was gone and church was closed and removed these very sacred items."
Detectives were in the process of reviewing security video from nearby businesses Friday and said that they, like Santo Tomas’ members, struggled to understand how anyone could steal from a church.
"It's very saddening someone would be desperate enough to steal from a place of worship in order to make a few bucks," Palazzolo said.
The items stolen were meaningful not only for religious reasons, members said, but also because they had replaced items lost in a 1999 fire that destroyed the church and everything in it.
Despite this adversity, Santo Tomas pastor Gerardo Galaviz instructed his congregation to practice forgiveness.
"These people may have broken into our house of prayer," Galaviz said. "But they have not broken our spirit and our faith."
The community has also come together to support the church, and one local business owner donated enough money for Santo Tomas to buy more than a dozen security cameras.
Anyone with information about the burglary is asked to call Det. David Nunez at 213-382-9440.