June 18, 2011 in Nation/World

Found: Relic of patron saint of lost

Associated Press
Associated Press photo

A gold and silver reliquary that holds a fragment of bone from St. Anthony is seen following a news conference Thursday in Long Beach, Calif.
(Full-size photo)

LONG BEACH, Calif. – Parishioners at St. Anthony Church in Long Beach prayed fervently after their 780-year-old relic was stolen. When it was returned, they thanked God and the police for bringing their little piece of St. Anthony back home.

“St. Anthony is the patron saint of travelers and lost things, but today he’s also the honorary saint of the Long Beach Police Department,” said the pastor, the Rev. Jose Magana.

Police recovered the relic of St. Anthony of Padua at the home of Maria Solis, 41, who was arrested on suspicion of commercial burglary, Long Beach Deputy Police Chief Robert Luna said.

Solis was booked and released due to an unspecified medical condition, police said in a statement Friday. Detectives plan to present the case to the district attorney’s office for charges next week, the statement said.

Luna said detectives canvassed the neighborhood with a composite sketch of a person of interest who was seen at five Masses the day before the theft.

Investigators found video surveillance tape that captured a woman walking to St. Anthony Catholic Church on Monday, the day of the theft, and the day before, he said.

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