Fr Stephen Smuts

Posts Tagged ‘Theft

Churches Robbed in Germany: Stolen Chalices, Crosses and Other Items Sent to Syria to Fund ISIS

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Eight men — led by a Moroccan — are on trial in Germany for stealing from churches and schools in order to fund the Islamic State (IS), the Christian Headlines website reports today (October 24, 2015).

The men aiding the Islamic State stole 19,000 Euros worth of goods from churches and schools in Cologne and Siegen.

In the court case, chief prosecutor Nadja Gudermann said that the men stole church offertory funds, collection boxes, crosses, chalices, and a number of other valuable objects “dedicated to church services and religious worship.”

In addition to pilfering from churches, the men are also accused of stealing money, laptop computers, and a cash card from schools. The men sent the stolen items to Syria to fund Islamic State fighters in their terrorist campaign.


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

October 24, 2015 at 20:50

Thieves Steal Pope John Paul’s Blood

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UPDATE:  Arrests have been made – but no recovery as yet.

Undated handout photo of a reliquary with the blood of Blessed John Paul II


Thieves broke into a small church in the mountains east of Rome over the weekend and stole a reliquary with the blood of the late Pope John Paul II, a custodian said on Monday.

Dozens of police with sniffer dogs scoured the remote area for clues to what the Italian Catholic magazine Famiglia Cristiana called “a sacrilegious theft that was probably commissioned by someone”.

Franca Corrieri told Reuters she had discovered a broken window early on Sunday morning and had called the police. When they entered the small stone church they found the gold reliquary and a crucifix missing.

John Paul, who died in 2005, loved the mountains in the Abruzzo region. He would sometimes slip away from the Vatican secretly to hike or ski there and pray in the church.

Polish-born John Paul, who reigned for 27 years, is due to be made a saint of the Roman Catholic Church in May, meaning the relic will become more noteworthy and valuable.

In 2011, John Paul’s former private secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, now archbishop of Krakow in Poland, gave the local Abruzzo community some of the late pontiff’s blood as a token of the love he had felt for the mountainous area.

It was put in a gold and glass circular case and kept in a niche of the small mountain church of San Pietro della Ienca, near the city of L’Aquila.

Corrieri, who is part of an association that looks after the small church, said the incident felt more like a “kidnapping” than a theft. “In a sense, a person has been stolen,” she said by telephone.

She said she could not say if the intention of the thieves may have been to seek a ransom for the blood.

Apart from the reliquary and a crucifix, nothing else was stolen from the isolated church, even though Corrieri said the thieves would probably have had time to take other objects during the night-time theft.

Some of John Paul’s blood was saved after an assassination attempt that nearly killed him in St. Peter’s Square on May 13, 1981.


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

January 27, 2014 at 18:10

Guilt-Stricken Thief Returns Bible 42 Years Later

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They never thought they’d see it again, but 42 years after their Bible was stolen in 1971, Holy Trinity Church in Hastings, England, received an intriguing letter in the mail. The anonymous note was sent to church treasurer Simon Scott and read, “You won’t believe receiving this letter and you certainly won’t believe receiving a bible in the post shortly,” according to the BBC.

To the surprise of the church administration, a huge box containing a large leather-bound version of The Holy Bible, complete with brass clasps, later arrived in the mail, just as promised.

The letter from the 1971 thief explained the he and his wife had moved to England from Germany, and hoped to improve his language skills by enrolling in an English class. However, the class was very expensive and fell short of his expectations, so he took it upon himself to study outside of the course.

Some lessons took place inside the Hastings church, and he said he, “saw these bibles just sitting there, unused he felt.” He decided to take one home in order to read it and improve his English through self-study. However, he “never got round to doing it,” and felt the twinges of a guilty conscience whenever he saw the book for years after the incident.

The thief said that his wife was “pretty angry” with him for taking the beautiful Bible. “I’ve never managed to pluck up the courage to come and hand it back personally,” he added. “But now that I’ve retired, I’ve definitely decided to get on the right side of things.”

Scott told the BBC that he didn’t think the Bible was worth very much, but seemed pleased with the story’s conclusion, commenting, “We’ve got ours back.”


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

August 26, 2013 at 21:02

Art World Fearing the Worst

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Ignorant peasant or not, this simply reprehensible!

Paris — To Olga Dogaru, a lifelong resident of the tiny Romanian village of Carcaliu, the strangely beautiful artworks her son had brought home in a suitcase four months earlier had become a curse.

No matter, she said, that the works — seven in all — were signed by Picasso, Matisse, Monet, Gauguin, Lucian Freud and Meyer de Haan. Her son had just been arrested on suspicion of orchestrating the art robbery of the century: stealing masterpieces in a brazen October-night theft from the Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

But if the paintings and drawings no longer existed, Radu Dogaru, her son, could be free from prosecution, she reasoned. So Mrs. Dogaru told the police that on a freezing night in February, she placed all seven works — which included Monet’s 1901 “Waterloo Bridge, London”; Gauguin’s 1898 “Girl in Front of Open Window”; and Picasso’s 1971 “Harlequin Head” — in a wood-burning stove used to heat saunas and incinerated them…

Read the rest here.

In total, the works were valued at hundreds of millions of dollars, but for curators and art lovers, their loss would be irreplaceable…

She even threw her plastic sandals in to help ignite the paintings… Such backwardness…


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

July 20, 2013 at 14:34

Posted in Culture

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Church Thieves

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Here are six issues related to preventing church embezzlement.

If your church has not experienced fraud or embezzlement, it’s likely only a matter of time until you do.  But if you pay attention and are proactive you can minimize the damage and perhaps even prevent theft altogether…




Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

July 4, 2013 at 15:33

Posted in Church

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Woman Accused of Stealing a Bible

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Huff Po:

If you steal a book that famously commands you not to steal, does that drive home the point or negate it?

Fleming, 23, of Powder Springs, Ga., was arrested April 26, for allegedly stealing the good book from a Barnes & Noble in Cobb County, Ga.

She was charged with misdemeanor shoplifting, according to an arrest warrant obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Fleming was released on a $1,000 bond, reported.

However, she could have avoided the whole thing if she went to a church instead of a book store.

That’s because many churches and other groups offer Bibles for free…



Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

May 7, 2013 at 09:14

Posted in Church

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Precious Relics Stolen from Church

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Relics were taken from a Catholic church in Sainte Genevieve, Missouri. Police say the items may eventually turn up. CNN affiliate KSDK reports


Written by Fr Stephen Smuts

January 14, 2013 at 15:13


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