Police are still seeking a man who pilfered the charity collection box at a Brooklyn church shortly after services on Friday.
The theft comes after months of services being shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, severely crippling many churches ability to collect financial help for their operation and charitable causes.
According to the Diocese of Brooklyn, the suspect breached the collection box at St. Thomas Aquinas Church, on 9th Street in Park Slope, and removed an undetermined amount of cash. The church reported the incident to the 78th Precinct, and detectives are now examining video evidence collected at the scene.
Sources said the theft was discovered at around 4 p.m. on July 31 by a Franciscan sister who was sanitizing the church pews. Church leaders say they believe the theft occurred after 1:30 p.m. that day, with the thief slipping in after the noon services ended.
Video provided by the Diocese of Brooklyn indicates that the suspect is a heavy-set white man believed to be between 35 and 40 years old, wearing an orange shirt, wearing a hat. He may also have a pony tail.
“I am saddened by what happened inside our beautiful church yesterday, but I am grateful to God that no one was injured,” said Father Willy Kingsley Ndi, Administrator of St. Thomas Aquinas Church. I understand in these unprecedented times, many people have lost their jobs and need assistance, but this not how you turn to the church for help. My message to those in need is to ring our doorbell, don’t vandalize and steal, and let us help you.”
Roy Oriallo, a member of the church watching the rear of the chapel, said he was saddened by the theft.
“We had just ended the Friday noon services, and he got in when we didn’t see him,” Oriallo said. “It looks like he took a screw driver to it and cut the lock open. The box is back now, but its really sad we must watch it.”
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the NYPD’s 78th Precinct at (718) 636-6411 or NYPD Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-8477. All calls are confidential.