Gold-plated Bibles, safe containing cash stolen in church robbery

Watertown police are looking for these items, stolen from the Taxiarchae/Archangels Greek Orthodox Church.
Watertown police are looking for these items, stolen from the Taxiarchae/Archangels Greek Orthodox Church.

Four gold-plated Bibles, chalices, a safe containing cash, and other valuables were stolen from the Taxiarchae/Archangels Greek Orthodox Church in Watertown, after a late-night board meeting Tuesday and before the arrival of a cleaner early Wednesday, police said.

“To go into a church during Easter time, ransack the place and steal a safe and Bibles, that is pretty desperate,’’ said Watertown Police Lieutenant Michael Lawn. “In my opinion, this may be drug-related,” possibly committed by someone looking to trade valuable items for cash to buy drugs, he said.

A cleaner arrived at the church at 29 Bigelow Ave. at 7 a.m. Wednesday and called police after noticing that the church office was in disarray. A cabinet was tipped over and a safe attached to it was ripped from it and taken. The gold-plated Bibles, chalices, and other items were taken from the altars, Lawn said.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

The thief or thieves entered the church through a basement boiler room door on the Elton Street side of the church. A square vent was removed from the lower portion of the door and someone crawled through. Police have no leads but are putting together photographs of the stolen items to disseminate throughout the area.

Two years ago, Boston was hit by a series of church break-ins, including a theft from the poor box at Mission Church in Roxbury and a break-in at St. Leonard’s Church in the North End in which several donation boxes were broken open and an undisclosed amount of cash was taken.

Richard Shiner, 47, was arrested in January for the St. Leonard’s break-in; police have made other arrests in connection with the robberies at the other churches.