NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The search is on for a man who police say broke into a church in Queens and took off with three guitars.
The suspect was caught on surveillance video wearing a yellow rain slicker and smoking a cigarette as he broke into the Canaan Baptist Church on 108th Street in Corona just before 2:30 a.m. Tuesday.
The video later shows the suspect stuffing the guitars into a garbage bag.
The church pastor believes the suspect spotted the expensive instruments through an open window earlier in the week.
“We understand there is much need in the neighborhood but it’s not the right way. I feel sorry for him and if he could return it, it’d be great,” Pastor Juan Suero said.
The guitars are used during weekly services and music lessons for children.
They are worth about $2,300.
People who live near the church described the crime in one word, ‘low.’
“Low life, low life that doesn’t have respect for religion,” Nelson Molina said.
“That’s the lowest of low people. It’s a church, they’re always trying to help out the community,” Anthony Fana said.
The pastor believes the man spotted the guitars through an open window earlier int he week.
“People learn music here, at the same time for us it’s very important because young children are learning to play bass, piano, drums,” Suero said.
Not only are there security cameras inside the church, but there are at least three more outside, plus a clear warning sign all of which the suspect seemingly ignored.
“You wanna get in trouble? I feel so sorry for him,” Suero said.
The pastor said he forgives the thief, and asked that he return the guitars so the congregation can have its music back.
The suspect is believed to be in his 30s and was last seen in a yellow raincoat and jeans.
Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS or for Spanish 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or texting their tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.