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Brazen thief steals from Glendale church

January 4, 2011 12:45:54 AM PST
Police are searching for a suspect who has stolen hundreds of dollars from a Glendale church donation box.The latest theft happened last week at Holy Family Catholic Church on Lomita Avenue.

Church officials say their donation box is popular with parishioners, often collecting hundreds of dollars. But over the last couple of years, one man has been dipping into collection instead of dropping off.

Bill Evans, the facility manager at Holy Family, said the suspect uses a pick that he carries in his right boot.

Evans said no one has been able to catch the man in the act until last week when the thief tipped over a collection box for Haiti relief and grabbed an estimated $400. He even counted the money in the lobby of the church in front of a witness before taking off.

"I can't believe someone would actually take money from a church," said Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz.

Lorenz said churches like Holy Family are often easy marks because they tend to leave their doors unlocked for parishioners.

Police are warning other churches in the area to be on the lookout.

"We do have a lot of churches in this community and our surrounding communities, both in Los Angeles and Burbank. I would not be surprised if he was a suspect in other thefts in other churches," Lorenz said.

The suspect was described as a Hispanic or Middle Eastern man between the ages of 40 and 50, about 5 feet 10 inches tall, between 190 to 200 pounds, with tattoos on each side of his neck. He was seen riding a bike with a silver basket.

Police warned anyone who spots the thief not to confront him, but to call 911. Anyone with information about the thief was urged to call the Glendale Police Department Burglary Division at (818) 548-4840.