Thieves steal the car in the French cathedral, steal treasures

OLORON-SAINTE-MARIE: Thieves rammed his car against a medieval cathedral in the southwest France early Monday, sawing metal bars to grab silver chalices and other irreplaceable church treasures, local authorities said.

Initial investigations suggested that the gang tied a tree trunk to the front of the car that used to pass through a cathedral door in the town of Laurent, a town official Paris said. The building was registered as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998. Once inside, thieves served chalices and other ceremonial objects, largely gold, as well as a 17th-century nativity scene and a collection of clothing.

The treasures had been kept in a chapel, behind a steel grid whose “bars were sawn through”, said Paris .

Oloron-Sainte-Marie is a favourite stopover for Catholic pilgrims headed for the Cathedral of in Spain. It lies 50km from the Spanish border. “The mayor was informed at about 2 am after locals woken by the noise and the cathedral alarm alerted the police,” said Paris . Witnesses saw three individuals take part in the heist, he added.

This was the first time that the cathedral had been attacked, the official said. Experts will take stock of the loot taken, but Paris described the loss as “considerable”. “Residents now find themselves cut off from their history and their heritage,” he said.