ROME — Italian news reports say police are looking for the thieves who stole relics of St. John Bosco, founder of the Salesian religious order, from a basilica east of Turin.

The ANSA news agency quoted Turin Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia as appealing to the bandits to “return it immediately, without condition.”

The reliquary was apparently stolen Friday night from the basilica of Castelnuovo Don Bosco, so named for the town’s most famous son. Don Bosco was a 19th century priest and educator whose name graces Salesian-run schools around the globe.

Relic thefts are not uncommon in Italian churches and shrines. In 2014, thieves stole a relic containing St. John Paul II’s blood from a church in central Abruzzo, but threw it away as they fled thinking it worthless. Police later recovered it.

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