WEST ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A suburban church has been preyed upon four times in a month.
A thief or thieves has stolen from the parish considered to be a bedrock of the community — goods and cash totaling in the thousands have been snatched from Our Lady of Lourdes.
“Great church. Can’t believe anyone would want to target, hurt us,” Patrisha Wissing told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan.
Parishioners at Our Lady of Lourdes in West Islip said they’re reeling from a series of unsolved burglaries and break-ins at their beloved Suffolk County church.
“It’s like if someone robbed your house. You feel very disquieted by it. It’s upsetting,” Monsignor Brian McNamara said.
McNamara said police are looking for a man who loitered outside the church. It’s believed the suspects struck when the priest said prayers with Boy Scouts just before mass.
On multiple occasions a thief has gone after a considerable amount of cash from candle collections, donations for families, outreach for the poor, and baskets containing offerings from Sunday mass.
“Last Wednesday, someone pried open the metal door with a crowbar to get in. A few days later he broke through the vent,” Monsignor McNamara said.
Last month police say two suspects broke into a fancy car parked in the church lot, and made off with a purse, wallet, jewelry, and clothing worth $10,000.
“There are sick people who do these things maybe in desperation. It’s very sad,” Kathryn Cabramo said.
Now, someone else is at it — three times in one week.
“He’s probably a drug addict. My career was law enforcement. That’s an indication to me, he’s breaking into churches, and stealing pocket books, whatever he can get his hands on,” Thomas Colgan said.
Detectives asked that anyone with information regarding the vehicle break in or the crook stealing from Our Lady of Lourdes, notify police.
Our Lady of Lourdes’ mission is to help the community and anyone in need. Priests hope the thief will come to them for help.