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COPPELL (CBS11) – It’s not like a lot of cash was stolen.
Still, police in Coppell are looking for a trio of crooks whose crime offends just on principle. At least four churches were visited by thieves looking to steal from donation boxes.
“We have a box, people donate money when they light candles,” says Father Kevin at St. Ann’s Parish, “so they were able to kind of break into that room and take from that box.”
According to Father Kevin, amid the thousands that visited for masses or prayers on Christmas Eve, the suspects wandered into an office area rummaging for valuables. And then they returned on New Year’s Eve—and were caught on surveillance video. “Part of being welcoming is being able to insure that we protect those that we welcome,” says Father Kevin. “We try our best to be loving and forgiving. We also realize that we live in a society and a culture where there was a law that was broken and there are repercussions for that as well.”
Translation: there is forgiveness to be found, but law enforcement is still involved.
“It’s very disappointing because you have three individuals that intentionally walked into a place of worship to steal donated money,” says Sgt. Sammy Lujan with Coppell Police, “money that could be used to upkeep the church, money that could be used to help families in need.”
Sgt. Lujan says the female suspect apparently acted as lookout—with a demeanor so calm that he suspects that the trio has committed this crime before: and the fear is that they will again, if they haven’t already.
“There’s no telling where else they have gone to do this,” says Sgt. Lujan. “There may be other churches that don’t have the luxury of having security cameras inside and all of a sudden their money is gone, the donations, the offerings, they’re not there anymore and they don’t know where it went.”
Two of the churches visited have not reported any losses. Still, police are asking the public to contact them if they recognize anyone in the surveillance video. “We want to catch them,” says Sgt. Lujan. “We don’t want this to happen to any other churches—in Coppell or any other place.”
Meanwhile, Father Kevin preaches compassion for poor life choices, saying of the trio “this probably wasn’t their first choice.” Still, he also speaks of consequences. “If you look at Genesis: the fall of Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve had sinned and God comes back for them and searches for them in the garden. He calls out to them and they have to deal with the reality of their sin and the repercussions.”
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