Church theft keys joy ride

| January 21, 2010

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — When Carol Toree walked into St. Paul's-St. Luke's Lutheran Church during Sunday's service, the 39-year-old convicted thief from Port Richmond wasn't looking for religion or redemption.

Rather, authorities say, she was after something to steal, and she found it: The car keys belonging to the 79-year-old lector in the Port Richmond church, and the Dodge Stratus one of those keys started.

"I had my keys in the coat pocket, and I guess she took my keys out of the coat pocket and took off with the car," Rocco Spinelli said.

But Ms. Toree's ride in Spinelli's car didn't last the night, according to police.

She drove to the Charlie Brown's Steakhouse in Mariners Harbor just after 8 p.m. and stole a woman's coat, authorities allege, but was made by witnesses.

A man followed her out and lost track of her, but managed to give police a description of the car, complete with license plate.

And when officers pulled her over on Sanders Street in Graniteville about 10 p.m., the woman's coat was in the back seat, authorities allege.

Prosecutors declined to press charges against Ms. Toree's male passenger.

"It's a stolen car. I stole the car," Ms. Toree told police, according to court papers.

Police put the time of the car theft at about 12:45 p.m., at the intersection of Catherine Street and Decker Avenue.

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Category: Church Security

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