Relic stolen from Tower District church

FRESNO, Calif.

Police say someone broke into the church on Wishon and Floradora in the Tower District and walked away with thousands of dollars worth of metal.

Parishioners at St. Therese are still stunned about the incident.

Someone stole a relic from the church removing an important piece cherished by many that come here to worship God.

"It meant something to parishioners here to have a relic like that. The Vatican's the only one that can give out things like that. We were very fortunate to have such a holy thing in our church," parishoner Kevin Mills said.

Father Michael Burchfield invited Action News to the back room where the thieves broke in through rare French stained glass to get in.

He even saved some of the bigger pieces proving just how thick it was.

All together they got away with thousand of dollars worth of precious metals including some brass clips from robes.

"The gentleman that opens up the church in the morning called me. I was still in bed and I completely shocked. I thought I was dreaming. And when I came here and saw the devastation of how the entire back of the church was ransacked I was overwhelmed," Father Michael Burchfield said.

Most of that can be replaced. What can't is the relic now visibly missing from the niche on the wall.

Father Burchfield is of course a man of deep faith, and he's more than confident the relic will make its way back to the church.

"I believe and I have hope that some person will somehow help that cross find its way home. I'm not going to give up hope. I'm a man of hope," Father Burchfield said.

On Tuesday afternoon Fresno Police said wverything but the relic and some bottles of wine was recovered.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.