Drexel Hill man charged with taking church’s money collection

| March 5, 2010

UPPER DARBY — The man accused of stealing the money collection at St. Andrew the Apostle Church in Drexel Hill is in custody, police said.

James Joy, 22, who was picked up inside an apartment Wednesday morning on the 3400 block of Garrett Road, Drexel Hill, admitted taking the bag of cash and checks to support his heroin addiction, officials said.

“When we entered the apartment, he was sitting on the couch texting,” and taken into custody without incident, police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said.

The chief expressed his confidence there would be an arrest in the robbery the same day the incident was reported about 10 a.m. Feb. 28 at the church on School Lane.

“I was extremely confident we would make an arrest on this case from the get-go,” police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said. “We felt he was from the neighborhood since he was wearing a ski mask trying to hide his identity and knew the layout of the church and how they deliver the collection money to the rectory. He went to that church numerous times. And normally in these cases when there is a lot of media attention, we get a lot of calls and we did.

“Thanks to the tips from members of the community and the aggressive police work, it led to his arrest.”

According to Chitwood, Joy has been “flopping” at different apartments and houses of friends since the robbery and told police he got about $325 in cash out of the canvas collection bag and threw the checks away.

“After the robbery, he went to the Summit Motor Inn and stayed the night,” Chitwood said. “He said he discarded the checks in a trash can across the street from the hotel. He said he needed the money to support his drug habit.”

Chitwood commended Detective Capt. George Rhoades and detectives for getting Joy off the street and into custody.

Joy is facing charges of robbery, theft, receiving stolen property and simple assault.

“The brazenness of the robbery fits the pattern of someone addicted to drugs,” Chitwood said. “He’s a local hard-core drug addict who has to steal to survive. Drug addicts not only destroy themselves, they destroy the community because they don’t care who they steal from and don’t care who the victim is. He needed the money to buy heroin.”

Joy served jail time for previous criminal offenses for theft in 2006 from his own mother, a drug violation in 2007 and burglary and theft last year, Chitwood said. The defendant’s mother reported her son to police twice for allegedly taking $400 and $500 worth of household goods and using her credit card to charge $70 in 2006, and again the next year after finding suspected heroin and drug paraphernalia in his bedroom.



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Category: Church Security

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