By Emily Drooby
Father Josephjude Gannon was shocked when he saw a familiar face on his church’s surveillance system. Father Gannon explained, “He’s trying to rob us and then I thought, he’s the same guy in the picture from a couple of months ago.”
Last Thursday, Father Gannon, the pastor of Shrine Church of Saint Gerard Majella, quickly realized the same person who had stolen 4,000 dollars worth of guitars back in October, was standing in the church.
After the first incident they upgraded to a more advanced security system that sends alerts right to Father Gannon’s phone and that is how he saw the suspect in the church. Father Gannon said, “We have upgraded our security system with motion sensors and new cameras and new angles which he didn’t know about.”
After identifying him, Father Gannon confronted the suspect, who paused for a few moments before taking off when he heard the police were on their way, riding away on the same bike he used during the last robbery.
Father Gannon said, “So then the police came maybe a minute and a half later, I hopped in their car, and then we were driving around the neighborhood with like six or seven squad cars for give or take about a half hour, looking, and he didn’t turn up.”
He was unable to take anything this time, but Father Gannon says he did have tools with him to break into the poor boxes. Both incidents happened in the afternoon.
Father Gannon says his church would have helped the suspect if he had just asked. He said, “We’re praying he turns himself in, we are praying he doesn’t hurt anybody, we are praying that whatever he is going through, that this is not the way.” Father Gannon adding he has no plans to close the church during the day.
In addition to the church break-ins, a few blocks away at New York City Muslim Center, police say a male suspect removed more than $1900.00 from the collection box, no arrests have been made in that case and police have not said if the two are connected.