THE DISAPPEARANCE of the bell from the top of the Nossa Senhora do Livramento chapel in Tavira has sparked outrage within the community.
A parishioner notified the chapel’s priest Carlos Matos on November 1, that the bell was missing and he alerted the police soon after.
Where the bronze bell once hung sat a miniature copper bell, which has been taken by the police as part of the investigation.
The criminals are believed to have struck on All Saints Day and the police are convinced that more than one person was involved because it is impossible to climb up and down the outside of the chapel unassisted. This is a theory that is shared by Carlos Matos.
The bell is half-a-metre in height with a diameter of 30 centimetres and dates back to the 18th century. It has not had a value placed on it, but the parishioners feel it is priceless.
One of the factors hindering the police search is the lack of any photographic evidence of the allegedly stolen bell. The chapel once boasted two bells on either side of the façade, but some years ago the other was stolen and never returned.
Some believe that the perpetrators are the same who stole the other bell and are proudly displaying the pair in their homes.
Some believe it was stolen so it could be sold, whereas others believe it was a practical joke in bad taste and they may see their bells returned to chime once again.