A reliquary containing the blood of pope John Paul II was stolen Sunday from the church of San Pietro della Ienca, in the province of L'Aquila.
The local commander of the Carabinieri police said the thieves may have disposed of object; dozens of police officers with sniffing dogs inspected the area and the woods around the church Monday. They had to suspend the search at some point because of heavy snowfall.
A cross was also stolen.
John Paul II died in 2005. He is set to be canonized in April.
The former pontiff loved to spend time in this mountain village at the foot of the Gran Sasso mountain in central Italy, where he liked to hike, ski and meditate.
Some have suggested a link to a Satanic cult. Others have said it looks like a profane crime committed to order.