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Bolivia prays for Virgin of Copacabana after theft

Wednesday - 4/24/2013, 6:44pm  ET

A stained glass window reportedly broken by thieves remains damaged at the Basilica of Our Lady of Copacabana, in Copacabana, Bolivia, Tuesday, April 23, 2013. Thieves propped a ladder against a back wall of the 16th-century shrine early Monday morning and entered through the stained glass window, stripping Bolivia's patron saint of her crown, according to the priest in charge of the church. Colonial churches south of Bolivia are seeing a wave of thefts. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)

LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) -- Roman Catholic faithful are praying and holding vigils for the Virgin of Copacabana after thieves stole the jewels, gold and rings that adorned Bolivia's patron saint.

The 16th century statue graces the altar of the Basilica of Our Lady of Copacabana in Copacabana, Bolivia.

Priests say thieves propped a ladder against a back wall of the basilica Monday, entered through a window and stripped the holy icon of 10 rings, eight adornments and the baby she held in her arms.

It was the latest in a wave of thefts affecting Bolivia's colonial churches.

Dionicia Quispe is a 35-year-old Aymara woman who represents a Copacabana neighborhood committee, and she said Wednesday that locals are praying continuously from the forgiveness of the thieves.

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