Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez of Guadalajara reported last week that Mexican parishes are experiencing an increase in theft.
According to the Archdiocese of Guadalajara, the surge is being fueled by specific requests from collectors. Pieces that before were worth three or four thousand dollars” are now fetching “eight to 10 thousand dollars,” said Father Juan Gonzalez, a spokesman for the archdiocese.
“It’s very easy to steal oil paintings, because the thieves take advantage of a momentary oversight or an empty church in order to steal paintings,” Cardinal Sandoval said. He urged pastors to keep their parishes secure and to close them when there are no services being held.
The archdiocese said it will compile an inventory of art pieces that are housed in its parishes and will reinforce preventive measures against break-ins.