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Burglar hits 11 churches in one month

The Brooklyn Paper
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Call us the borough of church break-ins.

Someone has burglarized 11 Brooklyn churches in less than a month, police announced on Nov. 25. The thief made quick hits on houses of worship in Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, and Bensonhurst between Oct. 9 and Nov. 8, stealing computers and small amounts of cash, police said. In one of the latest incidents, the unholy invader took cash meant for the needy.

“The money was taken from a children’s offering to help folks with train fare. It hurt the most vulnerable population,” said David Aja-Sigmon, pastor of the Fourth Avenue Presbyterian Church, which the burglar hit on Nov. 8.

The discovery was a double-whammy that left parishioners feeling violated, he said.

“It happened on Saturday night, and Sunday is our big day, so to come in and see that someone had broken in the night before, we wanted to go forward but it added to the shock value, and I think, more than anything, people feel a sense of violation,” Aja-Sigmon said.

Another priest said the break-in was less of a shock in what he considers dark days.

“I was somewhat surprised, although not all that surprised, because today nothing is sacred,” said Msgr. John Malone of Saint Anselm Roman Catholic Church.

The burglary at Saint Anselm will affect its ability to minster to the community, because the thief stole a laptop containing information about aid programs and who received help from the church, Malone said.

“Brother Robert [Duffy] had a lot of programs on there, and it set him back in having to redo certain services,” he said.

Aja-Sigmon and Malone said the police have been very responsive, and they harbor no ill will toward the burglar.

“I don’t know what’s going on in their hearts, what’s going on in their minds, what’s going on in their lives, but there is help out there,” Malone said.

Police say the burglar broke into the following locations:

• 9 pm on Oct. 9: Nectarios Greek Orthodox Church on 67th Street between Third and Fourth avenues in Bay Ridge.

• 3 pm on Oct. 17: Saint Mary’s Antiochian Church on 81st Street between Colonial Road and Ridge Boulevard in Bay Ridge.

• 9 pm on Oct. 18: Our Lady of Angels on 73rd Street between Third and Fourth avenues in Bay Ridge.

• 2 pm Oct. 19: The Assembleia Pentecostal Church on 48th Street between Third and Fourth avenues in Sunset Park.

• 8 pm on Oct. 23: Saint Anselm Church’s rectory on 82nd Street between Third and Fourth avenues in Bay Ridge.

• 10 pm on Oct. 31: Catholic Brothers Institute Residence on 73rd Street between Third and Fourth avenues in Bay Ridge.

• 7:30 pm on Oct. 31: Tian Fu United Methodist Church on Fourth Avenue between 45th and 46th streets in Sunset Park.

• 9 pm on Nov. 4: Our Lady of Perpetual Help on Sixth Avenue between 59th and 60th streets in Sunset Park.

• 5:30 pm on Nov. 7: Church of the Holy Spirit on Bay Parkway between 81st and 82nd streets in Bensonhurst.

• 7 pm on Nov. 8: Fourth Avenue Presbyterian Church on Fourth Avenue between Senator and 68th streets in Bay Ridge.

• 10 pm on Nov. 8: Zion Lutheran Church on Fourth Avenue between 63rd and 64th streets in Sunset Park.

The burglar left a jacket at Zion Lutheran, police said.

Law enforcement officials are asking anyone with information about the burglaries to call Crime stoppers at (800) 577–8477, submit online at www.nypdcrimestoppers.com, or by text-messaging 274637 then entering “TIP577.” All calls are strictly confidential.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeger@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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