Roswell police continue to investigate church burglary

New Mexico

KRQE News 13 told you how a Good Samaritan recently returned stolen chalices to a Roswell church. Now, the church is hoping by showing the surveillance video, they can catch the thieves.

Surveillance video outside the St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Roswell shows a truck pull up beside the building overnight a couple of weeks ago. You can see a man get out, then seconds later, another.

“That’s our belief, that’s our faith, and that’s why those chalices are so important to us. It’s not the financial or economical value,” said Father Espinosa.

They also took paten plates, wine and audio equipment, among other things.

Deacon Ernesto Martinez discovered the break-in. He believes the thieves jumped a fence and forced their way in through a door on the westside.

“It’s upsetting that an individual will come into the house of God and do what he wants to do with the house of God when this is a holy place,” said Martinez.

He said he saw unconsecrated hosts and cruets on the floor of the chapel, burn marks on the carpet, and another door to the pastor’s offices they tried to break through, damaged.

The police department says a parishioner returned the chalices to the church last week, but was unable to help them in their investigation.

“Our investigator did speak with that person who returned them who said that they had come to her through other people,” said police spokesman Todd Wildermuth.

“I’m happy and glad they were recovered and returned, but I’m also sad and really feeling bad because we don’t know what they were used for,” said Martinez.

Martinez said the church has been burglarized twice in recent years, prompting them to get security cameras.

Neither Father Espinosa nor Martinez know who would do this.

“All I know is that they weren’t even afraid of the cameras,” said Martinez.

“I think it’s something that we, as pastors, we need to work on, to see how we can attract those people — not for that reason, but to bring them to God,” said Father Espinosa.

Father Espinosa said he’s unsure if the chalices will be used again. He wants people to know if they’re after valuables, most chalices at churches aren’t made out of real gold, and only hold a sacred value.

If you have any information about the case, call the Roswell Police Department. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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