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Surveillance video helps police arrest woman in theft of 780-year-old Catholic relic in Long Beach

June 16, 2011 | 10:36 pm

A surveillance video provided the break that led to the arrest of a Long Beach woman in connection with the theft a 780-year-old religious relic, police said Thursday night.

The video footage from a camera at a nearby business showed a woman walking to St. Anthony's Catholic Church on 6th Street during the early morning. St. Anthony Relic

The relic of St. Anthony -- a bone from his body -- and the 16-inch case, or reliquary, that houses it were reported stolen Monday.

Police arrested Maria Solis, 41, Thursday on suspicion of grand theft and burglary, said Sgt. Rico Fernandez of the Long Beach Police Department.

He told The Times that investigators found other religious relics inside Solis' apartment that may have been stolen from churches.

The priest at St. Anthony's said Thursday night that the prayers of hundreds of people had been answered with the return of the relic, which was not damaged.

"St. Anthony is the patron saint of lost things, travelers and the poor," Father Jose Magaña told The Times. "Now he is home."

Police said they had not determined a motive for the theft. Solis was still being questioned by detectives Thursday night.


Arrest made in theft of 780-year-old Catholic relic

Thief might not know value, symbolism of stolen relic, police say

--Andrew Blankstein (Twitter: @anblanx) and Robert J. Lopez (Twitter: @LAJourno)

Video: Surveillance footage of woman walking toward St. Anthony's Catholic Church.  Photo: Reliquary of St. Anthony Credit: Long Beach Police Department