CHICAGO (CBS) — Two men who worked as security guards at Holy Name Cathedral have been charged with stealing as much as $100,000 from the church’s collection plate.
Artemio Calderon, 25, of the Back of the Yards neighborhood; and Jarrell Patterson, 22, of the Chatham neighborhood, both have been charged with one felony count of burglary.
Police said the pair was caught on surveillance video using a church key to enter Holy Name Cathedral, and remove cash from a safe on April 15, 2018.
At a court hearing today, prosecutors said they believe the men started stealing money in January. In February Patterson was fired. In April, the two were captured on surveillance video entering the locked church every Saturday and Sunday night, prosecutors said.
Matthew Hickey represents Calderon and says his client was never in the room. But prosecutors described Calderon’s role as the lookout. Patterson when inside, using his cell phone for light and took bags of cash, prosecutors said.
Both men worked for Monterrey Security. At the time of the burglary, only one of them was still a Monterrey employee.
A Monterrey spokesman said that guard has since been fired, after allowing his former co-worker to access an area where the church safe is located on more than one occasion.
The Archdiocese of Chicago has said, after weekly collection money appeared to be coming up short, church officials discovered evidence of two men repeatedly trespassing at Holy Name offices in March and April.
The church also discovered $100,000 was missing from collected offerings. It was unclear if any of the stolen money has been recovered.
Sources said the Archdiocese has canceled its contract with Monterrey.
Holy Name parishioner Will Wilson said stealing from the church amounts to stealing from more than one million underprivileged people the Archdiocese serves every year through Catholic Charities.
“The Catholic church has always been at the forefront of social democracy, if you will, and taking care of the poor, and taking care of those underserved. So that they would steal from that, that’s very disheartening,” he said.