More than 20 religious objects dating back to the 17th century were stolen from a cathedral in the southwestern French city of Perpignan.
Culture Minister Christine Albanel was visiting the Saint Jean the Baptist cathedral in Perpignan, as well as meeting police and regional cultural officials, on Thursday to express her outrage at the theft, the ministry said.
More than 20 pieces dating from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, including plates and chalices for Communion, were taken overnight Tuesday, the ministry said.
Stephane Brunelle, a spokesman for Roman Catholic authorities in Perpignan, said the thieves took the most valuable items. Though beer cans were strewn on the floor, investigators suspect that may have been an attempt to confuse police and make the crime look like vandalism rather than a well-organized plot, he said.