A man with an admitted history of drug addiction was arrested for stealing several relics from a California church to support his habit. 26-year-old Edward Burgess was captured by surveillance tapes stealing nine Catholic church relics from San Buenaventura Mission in Ventura County in October. Father Tom Elewaut said that the items have "spiritual value." Unbeknowst to Burgess, they had little street value.
Burgess broke into the baptistry and stole the relics, which were hanging in a shadow box on the wall. The items include include two medallions holding tiny bone chips of Father Junipero Serra, founder of the California missions, as well as two others with bone fragments of the Ventura mission's patron, according to the L.A. Times. Burgess also confused a bottle of holy water for wine, which he chugged, then spit out.
Burgess was booked for commercial burglary, and was accused of having meth in his possession and resisting arrest. Eight of the nine relics have been recovered, and detectives are working diligently to find the remaining artifact.