Well, not the real St. Innocent – he’s been dead for hundreds of years now. What I am referring to is his statue, which was stolen from a church in Italy in 1990. So where did he turn up?
Almost two decades after the heist, the bust of St. Innocent was recently found in the home of a couple residing in North Caroline. The bust is 350 years old, and is intricately carved. The antique is actually only one of the items that were stolen from the church in November of 1990. The other things that were lifted during the heist include 16 other statues (similar to the one just discovered) and two oil paintings.
Some facts about the stolen statue of St. Innocent:
-it is made of wood and painted with gold
-it was made by Diego da Careri, a 17th century Franciscan artist
-the current bust is not worth much by now since the head is missing, as well as part of the cross that the saint is holding.
So how did the American authorities get wind of the stolen bust? They were informed by certain officials in Rome that an Italian citizen had sold a statue to a dealer in antiques from Greensboro. This dealer then sold the statue to Neal Johnson from Charlotte, who then sold it to the couple.
Needless to say, the bust will be returned to the Italian church where it belongs. What about the money that the couple paid? I have no idea.