RAMSEY, NJ (CBSNewYork) – A Scrooge who took thousands of dollars worth of toys from a church will not ruin Christmas for needy families in Ramsey.
St. Paul Roman Catholic Church’s donated gifts are now locked up thanks to a theft that shocked its congregation two weeks before Christmas.
“It just made we want to cry right that minute,” program coordinator Addie Caputi told CBS 2’s Jay Dow. “I was just so taken aback.”
Caputi says someone stole $3,000 worth of the donated items last week from an unlocked office inside the church.
Parishioners have been conducting the gift drive for 30 years and never saw a need to lock the office.
“Around the holidays, that’s the last thing you can imagine is for somebody to basically break into a church and steal gifts for needy people,” parishioner Walter Zuck said. “So it was pretty alarming to say the least.”
Caputi runs a committee that takes names, addresses, and gift requests from needy families across New Jersey and anonymously posts them as angel ornaments on the church’s Christmas tree.
Parishioners were saddened but not discouraged by Tuesday’s theft. It took less than four days for them to raise enough money to replace every gift that was stolen.
“We’re called to be people of peace and forgiveness,” Father Richard Kelly said. “So we forgive those who have done this and we look to the future for reconciliation.”
Caputi is moving forward with a replenished inventory and a long list of families who in spite of criminals with bad intentions will hopefully enjoy this Christmas.
Ramsey police are investigating the church theft.
No arrests have been made.