Police investigating after Watertown, Mass. church robbed

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March 29, 2013, 6:15 pm
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(NECN: Alysha Palumbo, Watertown, Mass.) - Ornate chalices, gold crosses, and inscribed bibles were just a few of the items taken by thieves who broke into the Greek Orthodox Church on Bigelow Street in Watertown earlier this week.

Items that are probably only worth a few thousand dollars, but they’re cherished religious symbols that hold a sentimental value for the congregation.

“One of the epistle books it was an gentlemen who bought it, purchased it for the church in honor of his wife and it had her name in it, so that’s the great value and what’s missed,” said Rev. Fr. Demetrios Tonias of the Taxiarchae/Archangels Greek Orthodox Church.

Watertown Police Detective Lieutenant Michael Lawn says they believe that the theft occurred sometime overnight Tuesday into Wednesday.

“Entrance was gained through the boiler door down here, if you see the door here, the bottom had a grate and a glass behind it, they smashed it out, entered there,” said Det. Lt. Lawn.

Lawn says the thieves broke into the church office and stole a safe holding petty cash, then went into the sanctuary to grab the texts and other religious items from around the altar.

“If you look at the bibles and the chalices, they taken for the gold,” said Det. Lt. Lawn, “They were all inscribed with greek writing, they’re gospels, bibles, not the typical thing you walk into a pawn shop or a gold store with.”

Father Demetri Tonias says he doesn’t expect the thieves would get much money for the items so he’s hopeful they’ll have a change of heart and leave them somewhere safe so they can be returned to their rightful place.

“We’re saddened that they were brought to this stage where they felt the need to come into a house of worship – and obviously they’re not in a good place – and so we pray for them,” said Tonias.
 
There are surveillance cameras outside the church, but the thieves were apparently not caught on camera.

Police are asking anyone to call them who may have seen something suspicious at the church between eleven p.m. Tuesday and seven a.m. Wednesday -- or if you come across any of the stolen items.

Tags: massachusetts, robbery, Watertown, Alysha Palumbo, church, theft
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