Armed robbery occurs at church bingo night

| June 2, 2010

RACINE – Bingo night at St. John Nepomuk Catholic Church ended in an armed robbery Friday, according to police.

During the school year, church officials said they hold bingo almost every Friday night at the attached parish school, 1923 Green St. At Friday's bingo night, a man entered the bingo hall at about 9:19 p.m. wearing a dark-colored stocking cap mask. The man pointed a silver-colored handgun at several workers, demanding money, said Lt. Jim Dobbs of the Racine Police Department.

Bingo workers gave two cash boxes to the man, who then fled, Dobbs said.

"They did the thing they should do: Turn the money over and not risk your life over some bingo money," Dobbs said.

Janet Lee, of Mount Pleasant, was in a room next to the main bingo hall when the robbery occurred.

"We heard a lot of chairs (moving around) and we thought maybe somebody fell over, but afterward we heard people say they were diving under the tables because he was waving the gun around," said Lee, 65, who is retired.

St. John Nepomuk Parish Director Jan Ruidl said she does not know of any other bingo robberies at the church. Three more bingo nights are scheduled for this school year and will still take place, she said, though security procedures will be reviewed.

Lee, who attended Friday bingo at St. John Nepomuk regularly, said even with updated security protocols she won't be going back.

"I will not go anymore and it's a shame because they're going to lose money," she said, "but you go there for a night of fun and a night out. You don't want to have to worry."

Anyone with information on the robbery is asked to call the Racine Police Department at (262) 635-7700. Ask for the investigative unit.

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Category: Church Security

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