Brass valuables, including a pulpit, valued at about R200 000 has been stolen from a Cape Town church as brazen thieves struck holy ground.
Antique brass religious symbols and artefacts from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Belgravia, Athlone, were believed to have been stolen over the past two weeks, provincial dean Pastor De Vries Bock said.
In addition to the eagle stand pulpit, a communion set, baptism bowl, chandelier and candle holders were also stolen.
The money box from its office is missing as well.
"We can't point fingers at who could be behind this," Bock said.
"A church is a public place and everyone is welcome. But whoever took it, came specifically for those items. They left other things of value behind."
The church is offering a reward of R1 500 for the return of the pieces, which are more than 120 years old.
Bock said the theft was a setback to the heritage and religious traditions of the church.
"[It is] disheartening knowing that the church just in the past weeks opened its doors to the displaced people of the Vlei [informal settlement] after a devastating fire and was instrumental in mobilising much-needed aid and support for over 800 people. The church also used its premises to provide emergency relief to the community."
Police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk confirmed that the theft was being investigated.
"Detectives are following up on all leads to solve this case," he said.