NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Brooklyn mosque that prides itself on giving back was recently burglarized — and it was all caught on camera.
As seen on video, one suspect poses as a worshipper and then breaks into the donation box. That money was supposed to fund a celebration this weekend for the Muslim faith’s biggest holiday.
Around $2,000 was stolen from the Muslim Community Center in Sunset Park, director Mohamed Bahe told CBS2’s Lisa Rozner on Wednesday.
Surveillance video shows two suspects prying the donation box open with tools at around 7 a.m. on Monday, grabbing the cash and stuffing it in every pocket they have.
“I was just like, wow. I was like, seriously? Like now, a couple of days before our holiday?” Bahe said.
Bahe discovered the money missing from the mosque, which is located on 3rd Avenue near 53rd Street, on Tuesday night.
“The lock, they put it somehow just like this, so when I passed by and I literally just touched this and everything fell down like this,” Bahe said, demonstrating how the thieves left the donation box. “And they used some kind of chemical or liquid to freeze the lock and also the hatch.”
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Just before the morning break-in, footage shows one of the suspects, dressed in a hoodie, pose as a worshipper during the 4 a.m. prayer.
Another surveillance camera shows the suspect leave the prayer and go downstairs, Rozner reported. He is seen walking away and, presumably, he hid somewhere downstairs. After worshippers leave, the second suspect somehow gets in the building, which is also home to the non-profit Muslims Giving Back.
“These brothers, we forgive them. Whatever their motives were, we wished they had come in and asked for help,” volunteer Mohammad Hassan said.
“This puts us in the minus,” community center board member Hani Hajir said.
The money was supposed to support this Sunday’s celebration of Eid al-Adha, the biggest holiday on the Muslim calendar. Mosque leaders hope the suspects are caught before they prey on another house of worship.
The upcoming celebration is supposed to provide free food and carnival rides for the whole community. The mosque has set up a GoFundMe page to make up for the stolen money.