Thieves break into Latin Catholic Church in Istanbul’s Beyoğlu, steal artifacts
Çetin Aydın – ISTANBULFour thieves broke into a Latin Catholic Church in the Beyoğlu district of Istanbul, stealing a number of religious artifacts on Sept. 15 but were caught later in the day.
Two of the thieves managed to break into the Catholic Church in the Karaköy neighborhood from a derelict building behind the church after initially failing to enter the shrine from the front door at around 7:30 a.m. The other two had been watching the surroundings for any threat to their robbery attempt.
The thieves later took the religious artifacts outside the church and loaded them into vehicles, which included a statue, a cross, many paintings and several religious books.
Meanwhile, police examined city surveillance cameras around the scene, determining the vehicles they used in the attempt and their subsequent addresses.
The four, identified only as Osman Adnan K., Adem H., Bekir M. and Karim M., of Uzbek-origin, were detained at three different addresses in the Zeytinburnu district.
They pleaded guilty and said they had sold a carpet stolen from the church to an auctioneer in Beyoğlu. It was later taken back before being sold.
While performing a search at their addresses, police also seized books and symbols, which had previously been stolen from different churches.
Their proceedings at the police headquarters have been ongoing.
In addition, the Catholic Church had reportedly been closed for five years due to renovations.