Arrest made in trio of NJ church thefts

March 10, 2011 9:43:29 AM PST
Police have arrested a man in connection with thefts from three Catholic churches in Mercer County, New Jersey.

Gustavo Garcia, 50, was arrested on Wednesday for the thefts at St. Raphael, St. Vincent DePaul, and Holy Angels churches in Hamilton Township.

Police say a witness who recalled a partial license plate and vehicle description eventually led them to Garcia.

The trio of church robberies started on February 2nd at St. Raphael's when a man in a dark jacket and glasses, seen on surveillance video, entered the church.

Instead of making an offering and lighting a candle, he cleared out the collection box, getting away with $200.

On February 20th, police say Garcia went behind the altar at Holy Angels Church and stole $150 from the collection plate. That same day, St. Vincent DePaul's Church was hit when a collection box with up to $1,200 was lifted right in the middle of mass.

Garcia was being held on $72,000 bail. He is charged with three counts of theft and one count of burglary.