Bronze bell stolen from Queens church

April 2, 2008 3:23:08 PM PDT
Police are investigating a crime Wednesday that is hard to imagine, both literally and figuratively. An old bronze bell was stolen from a church in Queens. And it could not have been easy, seeing as how the bell weighs 650 pounds.

Now, cops are looking for the thieves, as well as the bronze bell, before, they fear, it is sold for scrap.

Eyewitness News reporter Jeff Pegues has more.

There is something missing from St. Mary's Church in Woodside.

"We're all very upset about it," one parishioner said.

The old bell is about two-feet high and not worth a lot of money. But for the 3,000 or so congregants from this house of worship, it is priceless.

"You can't put a monetary value on the bell," Reverend Edmund Duggan said. "The bell has an importance. It's the heritage of the parish."

Someone stole the old bell over the weekend. Somehow, the thieves lifted the 650-pound antique and hauled it away. There is some concern the bronze piece is headed for a scrap yard or body shop.

Police are investigating.

"Today's world is changing," parishioner Janice Blieka said. "Churches are closing all over the place, and these symbols take on a more special meaning to us."

The bell has been part of this church for about 120 years. It's not the first time the bell has been hauled off, but last time, parishioners got it back. They are hoping history will repeat itself and the bell will be returned. It would then be placed in a memorial garden.

St. Mary's parishioners are hoping and praying that the symbol of their church will somehow find its way home.