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South Side Churches Burglarized

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Church Burglary

Surveillance video caught a burglar who has hit churches over the past month. (Credit: Chicago Police)

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Updated 4/15/2011 at 10:00 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) – Police are looking for a burglar who is suspected of hitting several churches in the Bridgeport and Canaryville neighborhoods over the past month.

The burglaries happened this month and last, at churches in the vicinity of the 3000 block of South Wells Street and the 3700 block of South Lowe Avenue, police said in a community alert.

A  suspect, caught on surveillance video, is described as an African-American man between the ages of 18 and 25, standing 5 feet 9 inches to 6 feet tall and weighing 150 to 175 pounds. He was wearing dark clothing, police said.

One of the churches hit was the Nativity of Our Lord Parish – not just once, but four times.  Pastor Dan Brand is upset that someone would target charitable organizations that don’t have much in the way of wealth.

“If it’s the same person, he’s keeping awfully busy at night.  I hope I get him first so I can issue him a steep penance,” he told CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot.

Santa Lucia Catholic Church and School was burglarized twice. 

Police say it’s not known if the same person is responsible for each crime, but it’s possible.  Cash from church candle boxes has been the primary target, along with any money found inside schools or offices.  A car was stolen from the parish’s locked garage.

“We stepped up our patrols. We have an aggressive patrol unit. They’re on all three shifts,” Chicago Police Department 9th District Cmdr. David Jarmusz said. “We’ve got our mission teams out there, looking at the picture, asking people in the community if they recognize the man.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Wentworth Area police detectives, at (312) 747-8382.

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