Thieves Plunder Manhattan Church's Cash Offerings in Poor Boxes the Day After Christmas

St. John the Baptist
Surveillance footage shows two men breaking into the New York City-based St. John the Baptist Church and stealing from its poor boxes on Dec. 26. 2013. |

Two robbers broke into a New York City church the day after Christmas, stealing cash offerings out of its poor boxes and taking from its donation boxes.

Surveillance video from the Church of St. John the Baptist in Manhattan also shows two men inside the supply room, which they accessed by climbing over a fence and breaking a window Once there, the men notably overlooked valuable gold and silver chalices while looking in vain for unopened collection boxes. They also walked away with a church computer.

Helen Hinbint, a member of St. John the Baptist, said the robbery was disheartening for her.

"I'm very sad because the money served is hard earned money and we try to give it to the church," Hinbint told WABC.

Fr. Thomas Franks said that he believes the thieves strategically broke into the church during the Christmas season.

"People are always particularly kind and generous at Christmas time, so we estimate that there were probably a few thousand dollars lost from the poor boxes," Franks said.

He admitted to being relieved that the chalices were left behind, noting that they were likely "in excess of $10,000 or $15,000 for one chalice."

Franks, who found the church in disarray on Thursday morning, said that he was not sure how much money had been taken.

"You feel a sense of really almost violated on some of our most important days to get together as a community," Franks added to NY1.

Parishioner Raymond Rainville said that he was trying to empathize with those that stole but that it was difficult when the church had raised funds specifically for the needy.

"You think the poor person must have been very needy and hurting in their own [life]. We're called, as Christians, to pray for them, but it's very upsetting that it happened at a time of year when the need in the streets is the greatest," said Rainville.

Free CP Newsletters

Join over 250,000 others to get the top stories curated daily, plus special offers!


Most Popular

More In U.S.