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By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Three armed men robbed Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, Cardinal Dom Orani Joao Tempesta on the night of Monday, September 15th, while Tempesta traveled by car by from Rio’s Zona Norte (North Zone) neighborhood of Sumaré to the Archdiocese of São Sebastião located in the neighborhood of Glória.

Archbishop of Rio Orani João Tempesta
Victim of armed robbery on September 15th in the Santa Teresa neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro, Archbishop of Rio Orani João Tempesta was appointed Cardinal by Pope Francis earlier this year on January 12th, photo by Tomaz Silva/ABr.

The incident took place in the neighborhood of Santa Teresa around 8PM, when the three men, traveling in a car themselves that reportedly had been trailing the Cardinal, stopped the car occupied by Orani Tempesta, accompanied by a photographer, a seminarian for the Archdiocese and the driver of the vehicle.

“They were in the car when they were intercepted,” the Cardinal’s aide told O Globo. “One of the robbers asked Orani if the cross and the ring were gold. Dom Orani replied that they were not and then handed him the belongings immediately.”

Toward the end of the robbery, which reportedly occurred rapidly, one of the thieves recognized the Cardinal. “He apologized, but took the belongings anyway,” Tempesta’s aide said.

The thieves took the Cardinal’s ring, lanyard, crucifix, pen and phone, along with the driver’s bag and jacket, the seminarian’s cassock and all of the photographer’s equipment. No injuries were reported.

Following the incident, the Cardinal continued to the Archdiocese where he had a previously scheduled debate. The remaining party went to the police to file a report.

Police later recovered most of the stolen items, with the exception of the photographer’s equipment, as most of the items were reportedly discarded as the thieves fled the scene, at the time of this report no arrests were made.

A note about the robbery was published on Tempesta’s Facebook page early on the morning of Tuesday, September 16th.

Read more (in Portuguese).

* The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you up-to-date with important news as it happens.

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