The search is on for religious relics stolen from the San Buenaventura Mission. Father Tom Elewaut says he discovered nine relics missing from a shadow box and case in the Baptistry room Saturday. He added an extra chain to secure the lock on the gated entrance to the small room.
Religious relics are bone fragments of saints or other ancient religious object, The Mission's new surveillance cameras show that the burglary took place three weeks earlier on Friday, October 12th. The suspect, police found already in custody on unrelated charges, is not a recognized member of the faith community.
Ventura police chose not to release his name or the video until they try to recover the relics. The video also shows the suspect shoplifting inside the gift shop before entering the mission.
The theft happened on a school day when fourth graders, studying California Missions, were touring the site. The suspect hid in a corner as they walked by. He also spit out holy oil he mistook for wine while stealing from a special case.
The nine items stolen from the ninth mission build by the Spanish in California used to be locked away. But Father Elewaut wanted them to be on display so that people could learn their history.
They say you can always remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers. 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) Text "BUSTED" plus your message to CRIMES (274637) Text "STOP" to CRIMES (274637).