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A group of thieves tried stole artifacts from an Armenian church in Istanbul.

Criminals broke into an Armenian Orthodox Church in the Beyoglu district of Istanbul on Friday, Hurriyet Daily News reported.

Locals in the area spotted the thieves while they were trying to put a huge painting and a cross into a vehicle nearby. After being spotted, the criminals left the painting and the cross on the roadside, but managed to escape with a number of other artifacts. 

Police have launched an investigation into the incident.

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