Not to be outdone by Austria's cowbell thieves, a gang in southern France has raided three historic churches and stolen bells from their chapels.
While the bells are not as large as the ones in the picture above, they do each way 50 to 80 kilos. The thieves damaged roofs and walls to get at the bells.
Two were taken in one night on July 21 in Ginasservis, a town of 1,800. One bell was cast in 1737 and the other in 1867; they were taken from two different churches. The other theft, on August 10, was taken from a 12th-century church in Brue-Auriac, a tiny village of fewer than 400 residents.
Because the bells all bear inscriptions that would make them easily identifiable and hard to sell as bells, authorities are afraid they may have already been melted down for their value in bronze.