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  • Writer's pictureDennis McCaslin

Logan County officials arrest man who desecrated altar at Subiaco Abbey on Thursday

On January 5, 2023, the Logan County Sheriff's Office responded to a call at the Subiaco Abbey church where it was reported that a person had entered the church and damaged the altar and stole two relic boxes that were embedded in the altar.

When the deputy sheriff arrived, Abbey officials told him a person entered the church at the Subiaco Abbey and took a hammer to the altar.

The altar is a very large piece of marble that was imported from Italy and had two reliquaries (small brass-colored boxes) embedded in the altar.

Each relic box contained three relics from saints from over 1500 years ago. Both boxes were missing. The altar itself had a very large hole in the middle of the slab that went all of the way through the altar and the altar had large cracks and chips.

This is an act of desecration to the altar. The suspect also messed with the tabernacle that is near the altar but did not damage it.

Click to enlarge

The deputy arrived soon after the call but the man had already left. The deputy spoke with the witnesses, handed out statements, and took pictures of the damage. After completing his investigation, the deputy left. Soon after, the man came back to the Subiaco Abbey.

The Abbey officials called the Sheriff's Office and the deputy and the patrol sergeant were close by. They arrived and arrested Jerrid Farnam, 31, who is from the Subiaco area.

They found his vehicle on scene and there were tools in the truck that had marble dust on them. One of the reliquary boxes was found in the truck and later returned to the Abbey.

The deputies also discovered that the suspect had entered a nearby vacant house and an item was missing from that house. That item was found in the suspect's truck.

The truck was seized and towed.

The suspect was transported to the Logan County Detention Center and is currently being held. A bond has not been set yet. At this point, his anticipated charges are theft of property, criminal mischief in the first degree, residential burglary, breaking or entering, and public intoxication.

Due to the nature of the destruction and the difficulty in estimating the cost of the items destroyed and stolen and that an altar was desecrated, the charges may change. The investigation is continuing.

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