Police are investigating the burglary of a Manhattan church on the day after Christmas and detectives are hoping surveillance video of the crime leads to a break in the case. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.
A smattering of parishioners prayed Monday following a Christmas season few here will soon forget.
Two people, shown in the above surveillance footage, broke in and burglarized the Church of St. John the Baptist in Midtown in Manhattan the morning after Christmas.
You feel a sense of really almost violated on some of our most important days to get together as a community,” said Father Thomas Franks of St. John’s.
Father Thomas Franks found the church a mess last Thursday morning.
The crooks had ripped open donation boxes and removed all the money reserved for the poor.
"The sad part is we won’t know what was taken,” he said.
He estimates the thieves stole a couple thousand dollars, but says it could have been worse.
Surveillance video shows the criminals prying open collection boxes that had already been emptied by church officials and you can see them break into a closet containing gold and silver chalices.
They didn't take those vesicles but made off with a computer instead.
“I think it's terrible,” said one parishioner.
Catholics worshipping here expressed disappointment that the crooks stole money intended to help those less fortunate but not shock. Parishioners say sin doesn't surprise them though they want to be careful to leave the judging to a higher power.
“You think the poor person must have been very needy and very hurting in their own. We’re called as Christians to pray for them but it's very upset that it happens that time of year that's when the need in the streets is the greatest,” said parishioner Raymond Rainville.
Parishioners have already stepped up donations trying to make up the loss.
Anyone with information on the case should contact the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS, or text CRIMES and then enter TIP577, or visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com.