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Thieves strike Howard Beach church twice

January 1, 2013 8:14:02 PM PST
On New Year's Day at St. Helen's Church parishioners prayed, but it was their faith in their fellow man that may have been shaken.

"I think it's just a shame. I don't know what this world is coming to," said Bill Giannuzzi, a congregant.

Over the last two weeks, two men have burglarized the Howard Beach church. It's been happening in broad daylight.

Two days before Christmas, security cameras captured the two men walking into the church.

One was the lookout and peered through a peep hole to see if anyone was coming.

The other man broke into the church sacristy. Not only does the room contain vestments and sacred church documents, but it is also where the money is temporarily stored after it's collected from parishioners.

According to Monsignor Alfred LoPinto, in all the thieves stole about a $1,000, but he says it's not about the money.

"It's about the integrity of our space here. That someone would come in and have the audacity to break through our thing," Msgr. LoPinto said.

It happened not once but twice, seven days after the first time this past Sunday. They came back, again stealing money.

Msgr. LoPinto is concerned about what they might do next if they aren't caught.

"I have elderly who are in here. I don't want any of them to get hurt," Msgr. LoPinto said.

Church officials say police are investigating. The video should give them valuable leads.

On the surveillance video you see the suspects trying to blend in by sitting in the pews of the church while others pray.

What they don't know is that someone has been watching them the whole time.

"It's a place where you worship. I don't know how low you could get," said Carol Giannuzzi, a congregant.

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