Nearly 800-year-old relic taken from Calif. church

June 13, 2011 - 11:59 PM

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Police say a 780-year-old Catholic relic was stolen from a church near Los Angeles, just hours after it was put on display.

Investigators say the relic was taken from a cabinet inside St. Anthony Church in Long Beach on Monday. Parish staff last saw it at 6 a.m. Monday when they opened the church. At the 9 a.m. Mass, the pastor noticed it was missing and called police.

Long Beach Police Lt. Paul Arcala says the relic was housed in a 16-inch tall case with angel-shaped handles made of gold and silver on either side. The church only brings it out on special occasions and had put it on display for the feast of St. Anthony, the patron saint of missing items and lost causes.

Police say they are seeking a woman who they call a person of interest.