Would-be thief damages NJ religious shrine

May 12, 2009 6:45:21 PM PDT
Police say a man tried to rob the donation box at a South Jersey religious shrine by ramming his truck into it. Police in Buena say surveillance video shows an older model Ford pickup truck twice backing into the concrete casing that protects the safe holding donations at the Saint Padre Pio Shrine. It happened around 11:40 p.m. on Friday.

About 10 minutes later a man walks up to see whether he was successful in breaking it open.

He was not. The truck damaged the concrete, but the safe remained intact.

However, police said Tuesday that the would-be thief caused an estimated $10,000 damage to the shrine.

The shrine honors an Italian priest who was made a saint in 2002.

The Padre Pio shrine has been targeted by thieves at least two dozen times since the summer of 2005. This however is the first time that the brazen act of ramming the safe with a motor vehicle has happened. Evidence gathered to date indicates that the thefts and attempted thefts are related.

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