NOPD: Sacred valuables stolen from Uptown church over the weekend

St. Francis of Assisi Church theft

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - The New Orleans Police Department is investigating a theft that occurred at St. Francis Assisi Church, located in the 600 block of State Street.

The first incident occurred on Saturday, June 27. At around 3 p.m., the church discovered the Sacristy Room was entered and items from a safe were missing.

Among the valuables stolen were communion sets and chalices, including the ciborium and the chalice ciborium-- the vessels Catholics believe hold the body and blood of Christ during mass.

“It’s something that every Catholic looks forward to looking at every week,” said a parishioner, who wished to remain anonymous.

“It’s precious stuff. The chalice, the priest used it when he made his ordination,” a parishioner added.

The report also stated that the church was opened for parishioners at around 9:30 a.m., however, the Sacristy Room was locked.

The second incident was investigated at around 9 a.m. on Sunday when officers discovered a burglary at the same church. Items missing include crosses and a cash donation box from the wall.

The Pastor of St. Francis of Assisi tells us the suspect returned sometime overnight after police had completed their initial investigation and the church was locked.

NOPD officials believe that's when the thief made off with crosses and a cash donation box. Investigators identified a woman they say called and visited the church before the first theft as their prime suspect.

Those with strong ties to this parish find the crimes "disturbing" but, along with church leaders, say they plan to pray for the person responsible.

FOX 8 spoke to a representative with the Archdiocese of New Orleans who says the church has been open during the pandemic to allow for daily prayer.

Detectives identified a potential suspect in the incident, who is a female. NOPD believes she called and visited the church before the incident.

Anyone with information on these incidents is asked to contact the Second District at 504-658-6020 or call Crimestoppers anonymously at 504-822-1111 and toll-free at 1-877-903-7867.

Copyright 2020 WVUE. All rights reserved.