church burglary suspect
By Talia Kaplan
St. Charles, MO (KSDK) - "In the last month we have been burglarized four times which they took money from the candle box for the donations, they took a wide screen TV from the chapel, and they broke into the rectory and they broke into the rectory and took four rolls of stamps, a laptop computer, a camera, and some credit cards," said Don Moxley, the business manager at St. Peter Catholic Church in St. Charles.
All the thefts amounted to about $4,000. Police say the thefts happen during the day and the suspect pretends he's there to pray.
"We really feel violated and it's hard to think that someone would break into a church," said Moxley.
Marion Thro has been attending St. Peter Catholic Church all his life and his wife Joann has for the past 55 years. They donate regularly.
"It's unfortunate, very unfortunate," said Joann.
"It's pretty low when you have to resort to stealing from a church," said Marion.
Now St. Peter Catholic Church is pulling out all the stops to make sure their property and parishioners are safe. They used to keep the doors open all the time so that everyone who wants to pray can, but not anymore.
"Someone did something really dirty to us," said Reverend Robin Roderick, the Senior Pastor at First United Methodist Church. They were targeted on June 22.
"Thursday morning we come in we notice all this was just ripped off of the 2 by 4's, we've stapled it back now and 12 hundred dollars worth of guitar was missing," said Reverend Roderick.
She says she was surprised because there was no sign of forced entry in their tightly secured church. She thinks someone was trying to blend in and came to the church when an activity was taking place.
"I know times are bad right now but still that is just as low as you can go stealing from a church that is trying to help mostly the poor people anyway so I just think that is a real shame," said Jeff Foust of St. Charles. His wife attends First United Methodist Church.
The day before First United Methodist Church was targeted the suspects came to St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic Church. Police say the suspects tried to steal from the donation boxes there but were unsuccessful. It was there that police got a good idea as to who is responsible for the burglary spree.
St. Charles police were able to get surveillance video of a man described as well dressed, in his 40s or 50s, about six feet tall with a skinny build. They say he works with an accomplice who waits in a white car that is damaged on the rear left quarter panel. He is described as an African-American man in his 20s.
"We're very hopeful that the person or people who did this are apprehended so they don't do this to other people," said Moxley.
If you recognize the person or vehicle in the surveillance photos contact the St. Charles Police Department at 636-949-3300.
Churches are being burglarized in and near Wentzville as well. Since May, the St. Charles County Sheriff's Department and the Wentzville Police Department have responded to at least four church break-ins, one in which more than $6,000 worth of gift cards and money was stolen. That happened at Immanuel Lutheran Church.
All the agencies are working together to see if they are connected. Police say they are still investigating but have reason to believe that they are not because the incidents in Wentzville happened in the overnight hours and showed signs of forced entry. The incidents in St. Charles City happened during the day and did not show signs of forced entry.