Man in custody, rare statue recovered, after police say it was stolen from Camden County church

Police in New Jersey have recovered a rare religious statue and apprehended a suspect accused of stealing it from a local church

Monsignor Louis Marucci, the pastor of St. Andrew the Apostle in Camden County, said the church's Our Lady of Fatima statue was swiped from the altar by a man around 4 p.m. last Tuesday.

Gibbsboro Police confirmed they arrested 64-year-old Robert Adelman, of Woodbury, Wednesday. Officials said Adelman could be seen on surveillance video sneaking into the church and taking the statue.

"There’s not enough words to express the joy that I have and my parishioners have," Monsignor Marucci spoke of the recovery of the statue. "There were tears of joy. People came over to help us and they were touching it and just moved."

About one week after the alleged incident, church officials told FOX 29 police had recovered the statue.

"This couldn’t have happened without the news and the viewers and police and everybody working together," Marucci added.

For Monsignor Marucci and the parish community, the statue - just one of four in existence - represents a unique and powerful connection to Jesus.

Parishioners will be celebrating the return of the statue in a special mass of gratitude at 8 a.m. Thursday morning. 

Authorities said Adelman has been charged with theft.