Thieves get away with precious items from Santa Fe County church

New Mexico

SANTA FE COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – Irreplaceable antiques gone overnight. A New Mexico church is devastated after thieves got away with the most valuable items in their church.

The small church near Cochiti has a rich history. Members say some of the items that were stolen were one-of-a-kind.

Since the 1600s, the San Miguel Mission has sat in the center of the Village of La Bajada. “We have a lot of history here,” says Patricia Montoya.

But Sunday afternoon, church caretaker Patricia Montoya and neighbors found the sanctuary in disarray. “It’s like they invaded my family, it’s like they came into my house,” Montoya says.

Montoya says the church is normally locked because they only have services on special occasions. She says she knew something was wrong when both doors were wide open.

“Where are my candles? Because the first thing you see when you open the door are brass candles,” Montoya says.

Neighbors say this is how the altar is typically set up and everything the church has was donated. They say thieves left the altar nearly barren and got away with dozens of irreplaceable antiques.

“I can’t get my head around it, why someone would steal a Bible or religious icons and candlesticks,” says Joseph Moody.

Montoya says the church has never been targeted before and the burglary has many concerned for their safety. “I’m afraid if they start hitting our church, what else are they going to do?” Montoya says.

The church does have a security camera out front, but the batteries were dead. They’re making sure that doesn’t happen again.

The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office is investigating. They have no suspects yet.

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