Police think a suspect who said a prayer and then took off with a donation box at the Monastery of the Blessed Sacrament in Farmington Hills may be the same person who committed similar crimes at other Oakland County churches in the last two months.
The latest of at least three robberies was reported to Farmington Hills police on March 31, The Oakland Press reports. Surveillance cameras captured the theft and the suspect in the video matches the description of the man who robbed churches in neighboring communities, including one at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Parish in Farmington last month.
Our Lady of Sorrows was robbed twice, on Feb. 17 and then a month later on March 15. A third theft was attempted there, the newspaper said.
Sister Faustina Marie, who works with the cloistered nuns at the monastery, located at 29575 Middlebelt Road, told the newspaper she’s praying that the suspect gets help and doesn’t get hurt. She said she and other sisters don’t plan on pressing charges.
“I thought, ‘Why wouldn’t he just ask?’ ” she said. “We give what we can, and there’s so many good people out there that could help, or at least point him in the right direction.
That’s the same tact the Rev. Mark S. Brauer, the pastor at Our Lady of Sorrows, has taken. He said he has no interest in pressing charges and people who are in need should ask for help.
“We’re all in this together,” Brauer said. “We’re here to help each other.”
A third theft occurred Feb 22 at the Holy Name Catholic Church at 630 Harmon in Birmingham, the newspaper said.
In that incident, surveillance video showed the suspect kneeling before the donation boxes, then burglarizing them and leaving with the cash. Birmingham police didn’t say how mch was stolen.
Authorities think the suspect is in his 30s and has a medium build and a trimmed beard. He was seen driving away from the monastery in a late model silver or white Chevrolet Malibu and was wearing a short black jacket, blue jeans and a blue LA Dodgers baseball cap.Police are asking the public’s help in identifying the suspect. People with information should contact their local police departments.