An empty tabernacle belonging to the late Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell was stolen last weekend from his Hacienda Heights home.
According to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, the burglar broke a window and entered the residence on Janlu Avenue sometime between March 24 and March 26. Only the tabernacle was stolen.
The tabernacle, which did not contain the Blessed Sacrament at the time, was bolted to the wall inside of O’Connell’s personal chapel.
“The empty tabernacle from his personal chapel was taken,” said the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in a statement. “The matter has been referred to law enforcement for investigation, and security has been enhanced.”
The home has been empty since the late bishop was found murdered in his bedroom Feb. 18.
“There is no relation between the murder of Bishop O’Connell and the recent burglary that took place,” LA Sheriff’s homicide investigator Lieutenant Michael Modica told Angelus. “This was a crime of opportunity.”
Investigators from the Sheriff’s Industry Station said there was no suspect description so far.
The man arrested in the shooting of O’Connell, Carlos Medina, 61, has pleaded not guilty during his arraignment on March 22.
Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón has said that Medina admitted to the killing, but no clear motive has been yet made public. He is the husband of Bishop O’Connell’s housekeeper and had done work at the home, according to authorities.
Medina remains in jail in lieu of $2 million bail, and his next scheduled court appearance is May 17, when a hearing will be set to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to require him to stand trial.
If convicted, Medina faces up to 35 years to life in prison.