The relic of Don Bosco had been stolen on the evening of June 2 from the lower Basilica of Colle Don Bosco, that is, where on 16 August 1815, Giovanni Melchiorre Bosco was born - the Biglione farm at that time. Taking advantage of a lull in pilgrimages, the thief crossed the crystal wall protecting the reliquary and, after extracting the ampoule, escaped.
The shock was great, not only the many devotees of Don Bosco, and the Church, but throughout the globe: a testimony that Don Bosco today is a prized heritage not only of the Salesian Family, but of humanity as a whole, globally. "News of the theft of the relic of St. John Bosco from the Temple of Castelnuovo is one you would never want to hear," said Archbishop of Turin, Cesare Nosiglia. "Let us pray for this relic to return soon," added Fr. Francesco Cereda, Vicar of the Rector Major.
As news of theft became breaking news on a planetary scale, reaching even ppers and editorials rarely dealing with religious themes, and making the headlines and screens of each and every nation, the Carabinieri of the Provincial Command of Asti and the Procuratorate of Asti launched their police investigations, but without too much clamor, indeed, specifically requesting discretion in communications to avoid hindering investigations.
Investigations carried out “with a classic method", said a report of the Asti Carabinieri: interviews, cross-examinations, fingerprints - thanks to the collaboration of the "RIS" (Italian Department of Scientific Investigations) in Parma - security cameras ... Finally, the discovery of a suspect, with consequent stakeouts and surveillance until the yesterday's action, which led to the detention of the perpetrator, a 42-year-old man who has confessed, and the relic's finding. Truth is, the relic had never been very far from the site of the theft, but had only been hidden in a copper teapot inside a cupboard in the thief's home in Pinerolo.
"The glass ampoule containing the relic and the wax seal are intact. Nothing has been touched, "Fr Cereda announced. "The faithful and Saint's many young friends can now continue to pray before his relic, asking him to help them follow his example of mercy and goodness," added Msgr. Nosiglia.
In conclusion, the entire Salesian Family associates itself with the words of Rector Major Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, who said yesterday evening: "Let us thank God for the quick and happy conclusion of this affair, along with all those who helped us and sustained us throughout these days."