SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - At St. Dominic's Catholic Church in lower Pacific Heights, a display case now sits empty.
Church leaders say someone apparently jimmied a lock underneath the case last Thursday and stole a small relic that dates back to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Mounted on the cross was a tiny sliver of wood. St. Dominic's says that three-quarter of an inch sliver was part of the true cross on which Jesus was crucified.
"It's a shame somebody takes it and prevents the congregation here of having access to the potential for a miracle. Somebody is probably going to try and sell it for a few bucks," said Daniel Thomas, a brother at St. Dominic's church.
The church says the sliver would be of no monetary value without a certificate of authenticity from the Vatican, which St. Dominic's still has, along with a Papal seal.
The sliver was donated to the church five years ago.
The church has security cameras, but not where the theft occurred.
Police are trying to track down the relic.
"They'll search out Craigslist or where people go to sell items," said San Francisco police spokeswoman Giselle Talkoff.
The church wants the artifact returned safely and conveyed these instructions to the thief.
"Put it in an envelope, write "attention pastor" and leave it anywhere in the church, no questions asked," said Thomas.
Church officials say if the relic is returned, they will put it in a more secure display case.