'Smoking priest' picture stolen from Anchor Bar in Detroit

Longtime image of Monsignor Kern stolen by man who was caught on tape slipping it under jacket

Published On: Sep 27 2012 07:19:06 PM EDT
DETROIT -

If you’ve been to the Anchor Bar in downtown Detroit, you may have seen it.

On the wall of one booth there’s a picture of a priest holding a cigarette. But the legendary conversation piece has been stolen right off the wall.

“Who steals a picture of a priest?” says bar manager Vaughn Derderian.

He says the image of Monsignor Kern has been part of the family for more than 30 years.

“That’s something that belongs to us. It’s something that really means something to us as people. You can’t just go out to the corner store and pick up another pictures of Monsignor Kern,” Derderian said.

Kern spent four decades at Holy Trinity Church and died in the early 80s. But his name and picture lives on at the bar, displayed on a street sign and in black and white pictures.

A group of men captured on surveillance video are thought to be responsible for taking the picture while in town for a baseball game. They walked over to the bar from the DoubleTree hotel.

Surveillance video from Sunday shows one of the men take the picture off the wall, put it under his jacket and walk out.

“We really don’t have any other option but to press charges. That’s the process we have to go through. This picture is literally priceless. There isn’t another one. It doesn’t exit,” Derderian said.

Police said they will be working with the hotel to try and track down the men.