Church burglar foiled by locked exit door, leaves empty-handed

| August 7, 2012

A burglar who crawled through a window at Sewickley United Presbyterian Church and attempted to steal brass and pewter artifacts had to abandon the stash when he couldn’t unlock a door to get out, a church official said.

Edward Hrtyanski, clerk of session, said the burglar gathered candelabras, communion chalices and other items but left them on the altar.

The intruder broke a pane in a basement window and cut himself on the glass, leaving a trail of blood throughout the 300-year-old church on Herminie-West Newton Road in Sewickley Township, Hrtyanski said.

“Evidently, he must’ve went out the same way, because no other doors were opened,” he said.

The break-in happened between July 2 and July 6, state police at Greensburg said on Sunday.

The suspect may have fallen as he climbed from the window, judging from the blood left on the walls and in the bathroom, Hrtyanski said.

After rifling through Sunday school papers and drawers in a downstairs desk, the intruder went upstairs to the sanctuary of the small church, where an average of 20 people attend services each Sunday, Hrytanski said.

Antique pewter communion chalices, vases and pitchers were removed from a cabinet and piled onto the altar with the other metal items, he said.

Blood was dripped onto pews, carpeting and boxes of altar cloths that were rummaged through as the burglar looked for valuables, Hrytanski said.

A CD player used for hymns and the public address system were disconnected, he said.

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Category: Church Security

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