A court in Namur has sentenced a man who stole relics and money from the abbeys of Orval and Maredsous to 300 hours of labour.
The theft from Orval dates back to January 2017, when a safe was broken open and a sum of money stolen. That burglary came months after the theft of a crucifix and ring belonging to Bernard de Montgaillard, the abbot of Orval from 1607 until his death in 1628.
The theft at Maredsous abbey took place on a Sunday night in March 2019, when cash and two relics – including a piece of wood said to be from the table of the Last Supper – were stolen. The thief smashed two windows and broke open doors to reach his target.
One of the relics was valued at €50,000.
Police arrested two people, an adult and a minor. The adult had recently been released from prison in Marche for other thefts. He admitted both burglaries.
He spent 13 months in prison on remand before appearing in court in April, when the prosecution demanded a prison sentence of four years, considering his record and the value of the stolen property.
Instead, given the length of time the accused had already spent on remand, the court came back this week with a work sentence.