The bowling alley, located in the basement of the school, is a hangout for the community, and neighbors and members of the parish are upset about these break-ins and thefts.
Surveillance video captured the suspects inside the St. Monica Lanes on the 1600 block of West Shunk Street on July 7th and then again on the 8th.
The first time, the suspects were inside for approximately two hours in the evening.
The next day, more showed up. They arrived about 2 p.m. and stayed well into the night.
Youngsters broke into a church bowling alley in S. Philly. Stole stuff. Vandalized. 2 days in a row! pic.twitter.com/uEWpdvlTiX— sarahbloomquist (@sarahbloomquist) July 11, 2017
"I was surprised that anyone would break into St. Monica's. I don't think we've had a break-in at the school ever," Father Joseph Kelley said.
Authorities say the suspects got in through the adjacent school building connected to the community center and made themselves at home: charging their phones, bowling, and then their actions turned more nefarious.
The suspects took every key to the entire complex. An employee, who did not want to be identified, is concerned they'll come back.
"It seems like it started out as kid play and turned into more serious as more suspects came and left and came again," the employee said.
The video shows the young suspects breaking into the change machine and other vending machines. They stole electronics and all kinds of other belongings.
"They've done everything from bowled a few games, made music videos, and vandalized and stole some valuables, computer laptops, a lot of cash, change from the change machines and the vending machines. Pretty much wiped us out," the employee said.
The bowling lanes have been in operation since 1961. They are owned by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
The place is a treasured spot in South Philadelphia. Neighbors are already talking about holding a fundraiser to help the bowling alley recoup some of what was lost.
Police are working to identify the young suspects and make arrests. If you can identify any of the young people in the surveillance images, contact South Detectives.
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