The court heard from the accused’s lawyer that his client had stolen the pectoral cross because he felt it was “worth stealing” and selling on due to its appearance : The cross, measuring approximately 5.9 inches in length, is crafted from gold-plated silver and adorned with a gemstone. 

Despite the judge interrupting the trial twice to give the defendant and his lawyer time to call an associate to whom he allegedly had given the cross “for safekeeping,” all attempts to contact the associate were unsuccessful — leaving the cross’ whereabouts still unknown.

Before the verdict was announced, the defendant personally addressed the court, saying he knew that the list of his previous convictions was so long that he did not appear credible. 

Nevertheless, he promised that the cross would come back to Traunstein, Bavarian state media reported

The value of the cross to the Catholic Church is “not quantifiable,” the police said at the time of the theft. 

Former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was born in the small Bavarian community of Marktl am Inn. 

When Joseph was 2 years old, his father moved the family to Traunstein, where he studied at the seminary.