2 men — one named Pope — charged in theft of signs from Baltimore Basilica

Two men — one of them named Pope — have been charged in connection with the theft of signs from Baltimore’s Basilica, city police said.

Police said Anthony Pope and Sean Smith have been charged in the theft from the historic Baltimore church, the nation’s first Roman Catholic cathedral.

Officers were directed by a citywide camera operator to a man — identified later as Pope, 53 — “who appeared to be loading paintings into the rear of his car” in the first block of W. Mulberry St. around 3:45 a.m. Tuesday, police said.

A camera operator directed officers to the intersection of Mulberry and Cathedral streets, where a man — later identified as Smith, 41 — was walking back and forth to the car where Pope was standing, police said.

Police arrested both, and then found four large brass signs reading “The Baltimore Basilica — America’s First Cathedral” as well as a crowbar.

One of the suspects told police, “I didn’t steal anything, I was only a lookout.”

Pope and Smith were charged with felony theft and destruction of property.

The signs were returned to the Basilica, police said.

Neither men had attorneys listed in court records.

sjwelsh@baltsun.com

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