DETROIT -

Someone has stolen an 800-pound brass bell from the Sweetest Heart of Mary church in Detroit.

Church maintenance man Dennis Felcyn said he arrived at the church on Russell Street at 7:30 a.m. Friday and noticed right away that someone had broken in.

The lock that is usually in place on the church's gates had been pried off and the bell was gone from its usual place atop a brick stand that sits outside in front of the sanctuary.

There are scratch marks on the sidewalk near the church from where the bell was dragged away.

The bell was passed around several area parishes through the years before being given to Sweetest Heart of Mary church by then-Cardinal Adam Maida.

"It's a crime to steal anyway. But to steal from a church, to steal from the house of God, is just an awful awful thing," Felcyn said.