Police are looking for a man believed to have stolen cash from a locked box at a Massachusetts church.
Stoneham Police said they responded to St. Patrick's Church on Feb. 20 for a report of a larceny. The church janitor told police that around 11:40 a.m. that day, he had witnessed a man using a large screwdriver to pry open a locked church collection box and remove cash from the candle-lighting prayer stand.
The janitor said he yelled at the man, followed him outside, and took several photos of him. The suspect fled with the cash, and the janitor called police.
"The immediate reaction was sadness because all the person has to do is come to us and we'd be More than willing to try and help them," said Father Mario Orrigo.
A similar incident occurred at the same church in October, and police said they believe it might have been the same man. Police didn't say how much money was stolen but Father Orrigo said it was a couple hundred dollars, money that is critical for some.
"These fund boxes help people that are in immediate need who need food or immediate assistance for whatever reason do it really effects a lot of people throughout the parish," he said.
Father Orrigo said the thefts have happened four or five times and the church has tried everything to try and stop them.
"We've tried to implement as many security procedures as we can to prevent further occurrences but it's hard because we're a church and it's always open," Father Orrigo said.
The suspect is described as being in his late 50s or 60s, bald, with gray hair on the sides. He has a stocky build and was wearing a green work coat, red hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans. Police said he might have fled on a burgundy Diamondback brand cruiser bicycle.
"The witness in this case acted smartly, and his actions are commendable," Stoneham police Chief James McIntyre said. "Now we have clear photos, and we hope the public recognizes this individual."
Anyone who recognizes the suspect is urged to call Stoneham police at 781-438-1215.