LONG BEACH (CBS) — Detectives have found a centuries-old relic stolen from a local church, and a woman is under arrest for the crime.

The prayers of the parishioners at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Long Beach have been answered. A 780-year-old relic of their patron saint is back where it belongs.

“It is a first-class relic and it is part of St. Anthony’s, so St. Anthony a little piece of bonus is here with us, and he’s back home,” said Reverend Jose Magana.

On Monday, the relic was stolen from a display case on the church’s altar, just a day after it had been put on exhibit for thousands of parishioners to see. But it was one woman who came to all five of the church’s masses who caught everyone’s attention.

“We saw her like once before perhaps but she’s not a member of our community. I mean, all are welcome at St. Anthony, but I do not know who she is. I still do not know,” said Magana.

That woman, now identified as 41-year-old Maria Solis. Detectives had been using a composite sketch of the suspect to work with, but on Thursday they came across surveillance footage from a nearby business. The tape shows Solis walking toward the church. The tape was shown to detectives who canvassed the area, and found Solis about a mile from the church.

“Upon further investigation, detectives located the relic inside her residence, and placed her under arrest,” said Long Beach Deputy Police Chief Robert Luna. “She is currently in police custody.”

Father Magana said the relic will be placed on display again soon, but for now it’s in safe-keeping.

“We don’t want to go into panic mode, but we also want to be more protective. So we are definitely gonna say no to displaying it again. But we are going to be displaying it again in a different manner,” he said.

St. Anthony’s is the first Catholic church to serve the people of Long Beach. It’s been open for 111 years, and the relic has been with the church all through that time.

St. Anthony is the patron saint of lost causes and missing objects, as well as travelers.

Comments (9)
  1. Lynwood Sibley says:

    they need to read the first commandment of the ten Duet5 and Ex 20

    1. No Other Gods Before Me says:

      I’ve been thinking the same thing ever since this story broke out. They say they’re not praying to the saint, but when precious words are uttered in prayer and the one being called upon is not our Lord and God, then they are certainly worshipping and praying to another god, which the Lord abhors. They need to repent.

      1. Mike says:

        They are *not* praying to the saint in the manner you state. Nor are they “praying to another” deity. I believe that you need to stop bearing false witness to your fellow Christians. YOU need to repent.

  2. Denise Groves says:

    i never understood why the catholic church prays to so many idols. the only person you need to pray to is jesus christ. on the other hand, i am always appaled when a person enters a place of worship and steals ANYTHING!! they should be sacred. i’m glad she was captured. if she would steal from a church, she will steal from anybody and any place

  3. jesse says:

    Anyone else see the irony of the parton saint of lost causes and MISSING OBJECTS, as well as travelers haveing his relic go missing. Glad it turned out ok, but I was lmao at the irony.

  4. Ekaterina Kaverina says:

    Christians believe that a person lives forever. The saint people who lead holy lives (and it may well include your grandma) are in heaven and we can ask them to pray for us. The Virgin is in heaven praying for you right now, just as you continue calling her an idol and as you continue worshiping your own idols – career, car, golf, baseball, whatever.

    1. Mike says:

      Very well put, Ekaterina. I’m not even a Catholic, but I understand the concept of veneration of the saints. Some folks’ anti-Catholic prejudice is showing, and that prejudice is VERY un-Christian,.

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