Police: Man's shoes led to arrest in church burglary spree

Posted: Updated:
SHIRLEY -

Police say a Shirley man's shoes led to his arrest in connection with a church burglary spree.

Police say William Stepnowski got out of rehab in January after trying to kick a heroin addiction. About a month later, officials say he started stealing from local churches.

Keith Shaw, senior pastor of Assembly of God in Shirley, says his church was hit twice in one week in March.

Police say the 40-year-old Stepnowski also broke into the Christ Episcopal Church in Bellport and burglarized St. John the Theologian Orthodox Church in Shirley three times.

No one answered the door Thursday at Stepnowski's home, which is around the corner from St. John. Investigators say the first time he broke in there was in February. The last time, they say, was this past Sunday. Investigators say he was caught on camera during the latest break-in.

Suffolk Police Chief Stuart Cameron says the suspect wore "unique footwear" but wouldn't go into detail about it. He says detectives arrested Stepnowski Wednesday night while they were out canvassing the area. Cameron says Stepnowski wore similar clothing, including his footwear, and was in possession of heroin.

Stepnowski was arrested in 2016 for allegedly burglarizing several other churches.

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