Caught on camera: Women steal purse during Christmas Eve Mass

Posted: Updated:
GREENLAWN -

Security cameras captured two women stealing a purse from a pew toward the end of Christmas Eve Mass at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Greenlawn.

The entire incident was caught on the Nest security cameras recently installed by the church. Around 6:30 p.m., the women can be seen walking into the church and sitting in the back. A few minutes later, the women leave their seats as people empty the pews to receive Communion, and one of the women appears to swipe the unattended bag.

A close look at footage of the women leaving the church shows a purse underneath a blue jacket.

Parishioner Cathy Turnbull says she learned from her mother at a young age to never leave a pocketbook in church.

Father Peter Kaczmarek, the pastor of the church, will be reminding parishioners of the same thing. He's already typed up a message for Sunday's bulletin that reads: "Yes it's God's Home - but the doors are open to everyone - (saints and sinners alike!)"

Police say the women used credit cards from the stolen purse at several nearby stores.

There have been no other thefts at St. Francis. A wallet was reported stolen over the Christmas holiday at Bethany Presbyterian Church in Huntington Station, but there's no known connection at this point.

Anyone with information can call Suffolk Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.

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