LYNDHURST, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A catholic church in New Jersey has been robbed of thousands of dollars, and it’s not the first time it’s been targeted.
As CBS2’s Lou Young reported, police were poised outside of a house of worship on Wednesday.
The cops were keeping watch on none other than St. Michael the Archangel — victimized for a second time by earthbound robbers.
“It’s horrible to rob a church. This guy has no morals,” Antonella Catalano said.
The latest suspect was caught by video cameras early Monday morning.
“The individual is seen on video roaming around the church, then he goes to the rectory. He approaches one of the secretaries working in the rectory, and he asks for food from the food bank. She actually gave him a piece of paper, a form to fill out,” Capt. Joseph Valente, Lyndhurst Police Department explained.
She went and got food supplies for the hungry man, but while she was gone police said he went through the office, found the safe — door closed, but unlocked — cleaned it out, sat down, and returned to being the humble man in need, grateful for a bit of charity.
Except he had already helped himself.
“It’s not a good idea to rob from anybody, but particularly a church,” Roman Pinsky said.
The man walked out with food and bags of money and checks — $6,000 worth; the entire Sunday collection.
It’s bad enough on its own, but especially appalling considering the same church was robbed in February by a man who hid in the bell tower and broke open collection boxes in the church after noon mass on a Sunday.
A suspect in that case has been arrested.
Worshippers have theories about the crimes.
“People do anything to get money. Drugs, they need drugs, and that’s what they do,” Antonella Pica said.
The previous suspect was from East Rutherford and was carrying hypodermic needles when he was arrested.
The latest suspect remains a mystery.
“Last seen on foot walking south on Ridge Road,” Valente said.
Police do not believe he is a local resident.
Most of the stolen loot was in the form of checks that were likely useless to the thief.
There was no comment from the church or Archdiocese of Newark.