PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – An attack on faith.

That’s how a New Jersey priest describes a string of break-ins at his church.

A Catholic church has turned into a crime scene.

Surveillance cameras recorded a man kicking in the office door at St. Agnes Church in Paterson.

Instead of going to confession, he goes straight for the money.

“It’s very sad and upsetting that that’s going here. And it’s not right,” church member Yocaira Diez told CBS2’s Nick Caloway.

It’s the third time in as many weeks. All in, around $1,500 dollars was taken.

Most of the money was taken from two candles stand donation boxes. At least $1,100 was stolen in one break-in. That was three weeks ago.

The same burglar came back a week later, kicking in a basement window to get in, but only making off with a few dollars.

Last Friday, more than $500 was stolen from the office.

“When somebody does this, it’s a violation of our faith,” said Father Enrique Corona, the pastor at St. Agnes.

He said the stolen money would have gone to feed the poor, help with renovations on the building,  and even keep the lights on. That’s no easy task for the church.

“We have a very small amount of money. It’s poor people, hard working people,” Corona said.

He says he doesn’t judge those who stole from the church. In fact, he hopes one day to help them.

“Yes we need money. But more importantly, we need people saving people. Helping people to live with dignity. That’s more important for us,” he said.

This wasn’t the first time someone broke into the church, and it wasn’t even the last. While Caloway was there, Corona discovered another donation box had been broken into.

Father Corona says in his seven years at St. Agnes, there’s never a lot of money in the bank. Yet somehow, there’s always just enough.

Anyone with information on the crimes is asked to call Paterson Police at 973-321-1111.


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