HOWARD BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Two people were caught on camera breaking into a Queens church and stealing hundreds of dollars from a donation boxes.
The incident happened at St. Helen’s Roman Catholic Church, and the suspects appeared in no rush once they broke in, reports CBS2’s Marc Liverman.
A surveillance video a suspect lifting up what looks like one of the church’s donation boxes. She is shown slowly taking out cash from the bottom of a collection box, even counting and sorting it on the church floor.
Police say it happened around 3 a.m. on Thursday at the church on 83rd Street.
Investigators said one of the suspects broke the church door. Once inside, the other suspect stole about $400 in cash from four separate donation boxes.
“Yeah everyone’s talking about it. They’re very upset about it,” Jasmine Mejia said.
“When they start targeting the church you go straight to the heart,” Rosanna Craine added.
Nine-year-old Rosalia Casillo recently put a $5 bill into one of the boxes. Casillo said she’d tell the suspect taking what does not belong to you is wrong — be charitable instead.
“If someone needs shelter, give them shelter. If someone needs food, give them food,” the young girl told CBS2’s Dave Carlin.
The NYPD has also released a photo of the car those suspects took off in, a red four-door sedan.
Church officials told CBS2 the theft is a police matter and they don’t have any thing else to add however, some members of the community urged the thieves to come forward and confess.
Anyone with information about the theft is asked to call NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or 1-888-57-PISTA (74782) for Spanish. You can also submit a tip via the Crime Stoppers website, by Tweeting @NYPDTips or by texting a tip to 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577.