Members of a Winnipeg Buddhist temple are happy and relieved to learn a bronze incense urn that was stolen from the temple's front steps earlier this week has been recovered.

The decorative urn and incense burner was taken from its mount on the front steps of the Huasing Temple at 585 Cumberland Ave. sometime between 11 p.m. and midnight on Monday.

Stolen Buddhist incense urn

This solid bronze incense urn was taken from the front steps of the Huasing Temple on Cumberland Avenue sometime between 11 p.m. and midnight on Monday. (Winnipeg Police Service)

​City police announced on Thursday afternoon that the solid bronze urn was found. There was no word on where or how the item was discovered.

Video footage surfaced of the 136-kilogram urn being stolen late Monday night. The video shows a man dragging the heavy urn across Cumberland Avenue from the temple into a back lane.

The man is then seen sitting on and beside the urn, before an accomplice arrives 10 minutes into the video.

The two then load it into an sport-utility vehicle and drive away.

'Unbelievable for one person to do that,' says resident

A neighbourhood resident who saw the footage said he was blown away by the act.

"That's anywhere from 300 to 400 pounds," the man said. "And for someone to drag that across and down the step, that's unbelievable for one person to do that."

The resident, who asked not to be identified, said he couldn't believe no one on the scene at the time did anything to stop the thief.

"When he was dragging it ... people were walking by and no one paid attention to this," they said. "To me that's just crazy."

Police told CBC News on Wednesday night they were concerned that the thieves may have planned to melt down the metal.

Police said the urn, which features decorative phoenix birds on the bowl and figurine dragons as the handles, is believed to be worth about $8,000.

Adherent calls theft disrespectful to Buddhism

Suzanne Chan, a volunteer at the temple, said the theft stands as a slight against her religion.

"It's not respectful to our religion and also looked down on what we believe," said Chan.

The temple collected donations to buy the urn from Taiwan almost 20 years ago.

"Since then ... the incense burner has been used every Sunday to bless this community," said Chan. "It represents the whole temple, it represents Buddha."

Chan said she was happy to hear police recovered the urn — she just hopes to have it back in the temple in time for Sunday morning service.