Silver Ornaments Stolen from Church in Colca Valley

Maca church, ColcaThieves have stolen silver decorations from a church in the town of Maca, located in the Colca Valley in Arequipa region, according to daily El Comercio.

The group stole two silver crowns, as well as a silver cross and silver censer during the absence of the church security guard.

While they also took some gold jewelry, authorities believe the thieves were amateurs because they took some crowns that have no value.

The incident is part of a broader pattern and challenge that many rural churches in the Andes face, in villages where there is often only a visiting priest and the churches are not frequently used.

The Associated Press reported last week that the sacking of valuables from colonial churches in Peru and Bolivia is a growing problem. Since January 2012, there have been at least 30 thefts of Peruvian rural churches and chapels. In Bolivia, there have been 38 incidents, involving the theft of some 447 objects since 2009, according the AP.

Rural church officials told the agency that they believe the thefts are being done on behalf of foreign collectors.  The illegal antiquities trade is strong and has been for decades, particularly for prehispanic and colonial art and objects.

But there are also frequent thefts for quick cash —two years ago, the large wooden Cruz de Chalpon  in the Lambayeque town of Motupe was stolen from its pilgrim shrine and chopped into several pieces to remove the heavy silver bands.

 

One Comment

  1. Disgusting, what low life some people are. To steal from the poor to me is just appalling. Maybe a hidden camera would be worth the money to save what is precious to those people. Enough said.

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