Police recovered the relic of St. Anthony of Padua which was stolen from a cabinet beside the altar at the Long Beach church. It was found displayed in the living room of Maria Solis (about 1 mile from the church), 41, who was arrested on suspicion of commercial burglary, Police Chief Robert Luna said Thursday evening. St. Anthony’s pastor, the Rev. Jose Magana, said the relic appeared to be undamaged.
Luna said detectives canvassed the neighborhood with a composite sketch of a person of interest who was seen at five Masses the day before the theft.
Investigators found video surveillance tape that captured her walking to St. Anthony Catholic Church on Monday, the day of the theft, and the day before, he said.
“St. Anthony is the patron saint of travelers and lost things but today he’s also the honorary saint of the Long Beach Police Department,” Magana said. “He just wanted to come home because it belongs to everyone.” Magana carried the delicate gold reliquary inside where about three dozen people prayed in English and Spanish to thank God for returning the artifact.
Detectives are still interviewing and assessing Solis and have yet to find a motive for theft.
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