Man ‘prayed’ before allegedly stealing from church collection box

| February 15, 2012

A surveillance video taken by a Catholic church shows a man kneeling and apparently praying for several minutes before busting open a collection box that contained donations left in the small prayer chapel in northwest Houston.

“I wondered if he was praying, ‘Dear God, Please don’t let me get caught,’ or ‘Dear God, Please forgive me for what I’m about to do,’” said parish administrator John Naber.

William Joseph Johnson, 34, is in custody and charged with criminal mischief, according to court documents from the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. He is accused of targeting the Catholic church’s 24-hour prayer chapel for nearly eight months by stealing money from a sealed collection box on multiple occasions. The first known incident was caught on the church’s surveillance camera on July 28, the court document said.

Visitors to St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church on West Road in northwest Houston can light a candle for a dollar, which they place in one of the collection boxes that are connected to the candle stands in the chapel.

With the help of a church member, who also happens to be a Houston police officer, the suspect was arrested on Feb. 8 after months of allegedly destroying the collection boxes, candle holders and stealing hundred of dollars from the boxes.

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Category: Church Security

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