Juhu church broken into, cops launch manhunt

Thieves vandalise Juhu church, steal sacred objects, cash, laptop

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The cops are yet to identify any of the accused who broke into St Joseph’s Church in the wee hours yesterday, and left with a ciborium, and breaking other objects

September 20, 2013
Mumbai
Saurabh Vaktania

Members of the Catholic community were outraged after the premises of a suburban church were vandalised and several sacred objects were stolen by unidentified accused in the wee hours on Thursday.


Vandalised: When priest Father Vincent D’mello entered the chapel of St Joseph’s Church last morning, he found that the monstrance (a holy relic) had also been stolen; the office had also been ransacked and looted

The accused entered through the chapel of St Joseph’s Church in Juhu and departed with a ciborium that is used to hold the hosts. The accused also took some cash and a laptop from the church office. The Juhu police have registered a case against the unknown accused, but are still clueless about their identity.

On Thursday, around 5.30 am, parish priest Father Vincent D’mello entered the chapel and discovered that a few things were broken. He found that the monstrance (a holy relic) that holds the hosts had also been stolen.

He then proceeded to inspect the office and found that some cash, and a laptop were missing. The Christian community has also been angered because the accused left a picture of Mother Mary that they had picked up on the stairs, on their way out.

Representatives of several Catholic groups visited the police station, demanding that strict action be taken. Judith Monteiro, who visited the church, said, “It is everything for us. No one can even touch it, except the priest and bishop — and such things have been stolen, which is very sad. Such holy things have no monetary value, they’re priceless.”

Another member, Jeanette D’souza, said, “We demand immediate arrest of the accused. It has hurt our sentiments badly. Action should be taken soon. If action is not taken, we may even protest.”

The church authorities are now planning to install CCTV cameras inside and around the church. In the past, three such events have taken place, said the church authorities.

An officer from the Juhu police station said, “We have no leads yet. Also, there are no CCTV cameras inside the church, so identification is also difficult. We have taken pictures and fingerprints. No one has been detained yet.”

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Friday, Sep 20, 2013, 8:25 IST | Agency: DNA

Juhu’s St Joseph Church was broken into in the wee hours of Wednesday. The church authorities came to know of it when one of the workers arrived to make preparations for the 6am mass service.

Parish priets Fr Vincent D’Mello said, “A church worker called me up in the morning and told me about the break-in. The gold-plated monstrance on which Jesus is placed is missing. When I went around, I found that a laptop was missing as well as cash from Mt Mary’s statue.”

Senior inspector of Juhu police station Arun Bhagat said, “The incident seems to have taken place on the night intervening Tuesday and Wednesday. We have registered a case of break-in against unknown people and a hunt is on.”

About The Voice Of Bombay's Catholic Laity

Bombay Laity Ezekiel’s Chapter 3 Task as Watchman 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18 When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for[b] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.
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4 Responses to Juhu church broken into, cops launch manhunt

  1. This is terrible.I am also given to understand that this is the third time that the church has been robbed.In the both the earlier cases, I am told that there was no FIR files with the local police. Why did the church authorities no do this, may be this also encouraged those involved to repeat the offence.

  2. Dindi Aneco says:

    My conclusion: It is an inside job.

    1) Ordinary thieves won’t break into a church to steal a laptop, some cash and a few holy articles of which only the first two are of material value in the market. Amount of cash missing has not been mentioned so it might not be big and could not be the motive.

    2) The news does not mention that the locks of the chapel and office were broken, that’s weird. A sweeper, a clerk, a peon, an employee or a priest alone or together may be involved because only they may have known where to search for valuables.

    3) Another theory is that this is inter-priest rivalry. Some priest wanted to know the contents in the laptop. It could be some secret document about church properties etc. A good software expert can easily break the security codes of the laptop. The theft of other articles and vandalizing may be to mislead the police.

    4) Why no noise was heard by anyone? Did the neighborhood dogs bark around that time? Police must take fingerprints of every priest and employee of the Church and question them separately. Compare their individual versions and find any holes in their stories.

    Not fixing CCTV cameras is sheer negligence. A canine like a Doberman or a German Shepherd dog could be let free in the premises at night. I know some Hindu temples which do all this to protect the temple’s gold and cash.

  3. Its a week since the incident. How come the local police has yet to get the thief. What is the local PP and the people of Juhu doing?

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