Woman arrested in theft of church relic

June 17, 2011 at 8:37 AM

LONG BEACH, Calif., June 17 (UPI) -- Investigators say a surveillance video led to the arrest of a Long Beach, Calif., woman in the theft of a 780-year-old religious relic.

Police arrested Maria Solis, 41, Thursday on suspicion of grand theft and burglary in the theft of the relic of St. Anthony from St. Anthony's Catholic Church in Long Beach, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The surveillance video showed a woman walking up to the church and police were able to trace it to Solis' home where the relic, containing a bone belonging to St. Anthony, was on display in a gold-plated 16-inch tall case, or reliquary.

Sgt. Rico Fernandez of the Long Beach Police Department told the Times investigators also found other religious relics inside Solis' apartment that might have been stolen from other churches.

The Rev. Father Jose Magana said the relic was returned to the St. Anthony's undamaged.

"St. Anthony is the patron saint of lost things, travelers and the poor," Magana said. "Now he is home."

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