Thief breaks into church, steals collections

RHAWNHURST - September 13, 2010 Pastor Joseph Howarth was going in to say 8:30 Mass Monday morning when he noticed two pieces of wood on the floor outside the lower sacristy of the Resurrection of our Lord Church.

"Quickly I found out what it was doing there the door had been jimmied to the sacristy."

At the time they didn't realize they had stumbled onto a crime scene until they were inside and discovered all the money collected from this weekend's Masses had been stolen from the safe.

"They took a combination of checks and cash. And both the checks and the cash were in bags ready to be deposited at the bank," the pastor explained.

There are surveillance cameras on the property of the church but it turns out none are covering the area where the culprit or culprits entered the building.

"We are in the process of putting surveillance cameras over there but they have not been they were not caught on any camera there because it's not installed yet."

Father Howarth says he and his staff have no idea who the culprits may have been or whether or not they could possibly be a member of the parish. There are 3100 families who are members of the 50-year-old parish. The pastor declined to speculate on whether or not it may have been an inside job but he does point out that the combination of the safe has never been changed since the safe was installed.

"I just don't like to envision, I just like to say to steal from the church, for me, people must be pretty hard up if you're going to do that. The only thing I can do is pray for the poor soul, person."

Father Howarth also says taken was a special collection this weekend for the Black and Indian missions, in all, a total of $11,749 in cash and checks. Needless to say the combination on the safe has been changed.

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