Arrests Made in Church Bingo Robbery

| August 15, 2010

MILWAUKEE – On the outside of St. Rafael the Archangel church there's a sign that trouble apparently couldn't pass up. It says $3,000 was up for grabs at Friday night's bingo game.

"We knew some day it would happen," says Denise Haggerty.

It was Friday night shortly before nine, when Haggerty says three masked men carrying guns busted into the church basement and stole purses and bags from five people.

"All the doors are open. There's no security," she said.

For the past forty years or so, church officials say St. Rafael's near 31st and Lincoln has been the place for bingo and they're known for big jackpots.

Sister Teresa Baca says she was collecting money for bingo tickets when the men burst through the doors. They apparently said nothing, only pointing guns at people.

Baca hit the deck, hiding under a table.

"Some people were very scared. Some people were under the table," she said with help from an interpreter. "People were crying."

Lisa Moonen was brought to tears just thinking about the incident. She saw the robbers threaten her daughter.

"My daughter went to grab her purse and the guy had the gun to her, so she backed away and he took off with her purse and they all ran out," said Moonen.

Witnesses say the robbers were "nervous" and "really young." In fact, they couldn't find their way out. They tried to escape through the kitchen but it didn't' work.

They eventually made it out of the church, but not out of trouble.

Milwaukee Police say they arrested four people in connection with the robberies.

Witnesses say some people fainted and one woman hurt her leg, but there were no serious injuries.

"It's one of the hardest things to take to see something like that," said Haggerty. "You're not going to forget something like that."

 

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