Thieves made off with four wooden benches from the Church of the Angels in Pasadena earlier this week, police said.
The benches, valued at $1,500, had been installed as part a restoration that began in 1983, said the Rev. Robert Gaestel, vicar of the Episcopal church on Avenue 64.
Gaestel said one of the benches, gold with an arch pattern on the backrest, was a special loss.
"It was beautiful," he said. "It was a real work of art. It wasn't just thrown together."
The three other benches were a gift of Alice Thomas, a parishioner.
The theft, which happened Sunday night, occurred only a week before the church's observance of the 100th anniversary of its consecration.