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Suit: Parishioners took more than $100K worth of jewelry from Melrose Park church

The Archdiocese of Chicago is suing several members of a west suburban parish group who, a new lawsuit alleges, took jewelry and other adornments from the church valued at more than $100,000.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Cook County Circuit Court against three members of the Society of the Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, based in Melrose Park.

The Archdiocese alleges that some time “prior to and during 2013,” dozens of gold rings, chains, crosses, crowns, broaches and several statue adornments were taken from the church by the three parishioners.

The combined value of the items taken “is not ascertainable; however, it is in excess of $100,000,” the suit stated.

“For more than a year, the Archdiocese of Chicago has worked on behalf of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Melrose Park, which asked for assistance to secure the return of items belonging to the parish from members of the Society of the Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, a parish organization,” the archdiocese said in a statement Thursday.

“These items are of significant value to the parish, both materially and religiously,” the statement said.

Despite several verbal and written requests from the church to return the items, the property has not been returned, the suit stated.

The archdiocese says it had no alternative but to take legal action because of “the uncompromising refusal of some Society members to return these items.”

A representative from the Society of the Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

The complaint is asking the court to order the return of the items to the parish.