Monday, December 15, 2008

2 charged with stealing, chopping up statue from Padre Pio site

I and was mortified when I read that this statue was stolen. I had prayed that it would be returned intact, but per today's newspaper, it's gone. I feel horrible that there are people in the world that have no shame.

From Wiki: "Pio of Pietrelcina (25 May 1887 – 23 September 1968) was a Capuchin priest from Italy who is venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church. He was born Francesco Forgione, and given the name Pio when he joined the Capuchins; he was popularly known as Padre Pio after his ordination to the priesthood. He became famous for his stigmata."

From the website:

2 charged with stealing, chopping up statue from Padre Pio site

"An antique religious statue valued at between $60,000 and $100,000 and stolen from a Berks County shrine in September was chopped up and sold for its scrap value -- $952, according to state police.

Theft charges were filed today against the two men state police allege are responsible -- John E. Hammond Jr. 31, of Spring City, Chester County, and Jamie Lee Custer, 31, of Norristown.

According to state police, Hammond and Custer removed the 8-foot-tall statue known as the "Angel of Roses" from the National Centre for Padre Pio, a shrine and museum honoring a Roman Catholic saint, on Barto Road in Washington Township.

The statue, originally cast in the 1930s, previously graced the Hall of Justice in Sao Paolo, Brazil. The angel had a four-foot wing span and held five roses, each representing the five wounds of Christ. The founder of the centre purchased the statue at auction about 10 years ago for $26,000 because Padre Pio bore the same wounds -- known as the stigmata -- on his body for more than 50 years.

According to state police at Reading, Hammond and Custer removed the statue before 4 a.m. Sept. 24 by cutting four nuts and bolts that secured the statue to its concrete base and toppling it into the bed of a pickup truck. The statue weighed between 1,100 and 1,200 pounds.

State police said the men rented a saw from a local store, cut the statue into manageable pieces and sold the pieces for $952 to a scrap metal dealer in Conshohocken.

Charges of theft by unlawful taking or disposition were filed against Hammond and Custer today at District Judge Michael G. Hartman's office.

The statue had been one of the first things visitors saw when they entered the centre's 100-acre property between Route 100 and Old Route 100. Padre Pio, an Italian friar who died in 1968, was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2002."

-- Reporting by Tracy Jordan, The Morning Call

Link to the National Centre for Padre Pio in Barto, PA.

1 comment:

Speedmaster said...

WOW!! That's outrageous and infuriating. We're Roman Catholics and have been fans of Padre Pio since circa 1995.

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