Ring, cross stolen from bishop's body

June 14, 1991|By Knight-Ridder News Service

CAMDEN, N.J. -- Thieves broke into the rectory of Camden's Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception early yesterday, evaded an elaborate alarm system and stole a ruby ring and a gold cross from the body of Bishop George Guilfoyle.

Camden police took a 13-year-old boy believed to have been involved in the crime into custody last night.

The boy was taken into custody about 8 p.m. Police said he told them that the items had been taken to ashop that deals in gold and silver in Camden. As of midnight, the stolen objects had not been recovered.

Investigators said bystanders around the church's soup kitchen had overheard someone boasting about the theft and tipped off police. Police said they were looking for a man who also was believed to have participated in the theft.

The cross contained a splinter believed to be from the cross on which Jesus died. It was a gift from priests in Bishop Guilfoyle's native New York when he became a bishop in

1964. The matching ring was a gift from his mother.

The bishop's magenta biretta and mantle were askew when the theft was discovered about 1:30 a.m., but his body was not disturbed.

The viewing for the bishop, who died Tuesday, continued yesterday in the room where the robbery occurred -- the rectory's ground-level parlor.

Church officials said robbers had opened a rectory storm window, smashed the locked window behind it and torn out a masonry nail that held it in place.

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