Thieves pry bronze Virgin Mary statue from church

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) -- Thieves may have to take an awkward trip to the confessional. A bronze statue of the Virgin Mary was lifted from a Catholic church in Newport Beach. Police Lt. Craig Fox said the 4-to-5 foot statue was pried from its base on the front of Our Lady Queen of Angels Church on Friday night.

The rendering of the praying Madonna by renowned Mexican sculptor Victor Salmones is worth an estimated $30,000. A private donor gave it to the church eight years ago.

Fox said investigators believe the statue was taken for its recycling value. He says police have arrested no suspects.

Fox called stealing from a church "pretty tacky."

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