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Statue Wrenched From Base, Stolen From Brooklyn Church Rectory

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Thieves stole a beloved statue from a Brooklyn church this past weekend, and it was all caught on camera.

As CBS2's Dick Brennan reported, it took some effort to pry the statue loose, and it was not the first time the church had been targeted.

"It is actually very upsetting," Mother Superior Sister Bendita Diaz said outside the Sts. Peter and Paul Rectory on South 3rd Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

"It is painful. It's very painful because what it means to us. Yes, we know that this is a very lack of respect to our beliefs," Diaz said.

Surveillance video captured the thieves in the act on Saturday morning. They wrenched the statue from its base and then took off down South 3rd Street.

"Looking at the tape and seeing them run off and laughing and carrying on as they did, walking with the statue away, it's ignorance," said Waleska Soto, who works in the rectory.

Soto said the statue meant so much to people here.

"Some might even have stopped to pray," she said. "So it's a thing that they not only robbed the house of the rectory – the house of our priests – but they also robbed something from the community that was beautiful."

Incredibly, this was not the first time a statue was stolen from the church. One was taken in 2012 and had to be replaced.

The statue was basically only glued to the base, but Sister Diaz was still was amazed it was taken.

"Unfortunately, it wasn't well, very well secured," she said. "But it's on a private property, so I would never imagine they were going to take it."

People at the church said they will take the statue back, no questions asked. They had a message for the robbers

"It would be beautiful if you guys return it, and think about your actions next time," Soto said. "Every action has its consequences, and right now, we're paying the consequences. The community is paying the consequences."

The church said next time, they will make sure the statue is secured.

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