Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Man Sentenced in Church Thefts.

Byline: S.U. Mahesh Journal Staff Writer

One of the two Espanola men who pleaded guilty to stealing several religious artifacts from a 160-year-old adobe Catholic church in Hernandez was sentenced to five years supervised probation Monday.

Chris Garcia pleaded guilty but mentally ill to felony charges of burglary, larceny, receiving stolen property and aggravated assault under a plea agreement.

Garcia, 25, and his accomplice, Emmanuel Martinez, 19 also known as Manuel Herrera broke into the San Jose de Chama church April 12 and stole 14 stations-of-the-cross paintings along with two large plaster angels and a painting of St. Joseph.

Church officials said the crosses and the paintings are "very old, priceless and irreplaceable. …

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