DENVER (KDVR) — A Catholic church in Denver has been burglarized three times in the last month. Each incident was caught on camera as thieves hacked into the parish’s donation boxes.
A place of service and worship has become a target for thieves who have swiped money and caused property damage. After the repeated offenses, FOX31’s partners at Univision are helping share the pastor’s plea for help.
On Monday morning, alarms were blaring on West 36th Avenue, home to Our Lady Guadalupe Church. But Father Benito Hernandez said, unfortunately, it’s not the first time.
“I will say it’s a sin, absolutely,” he expressed.
Church burglaries caught on camera
On Jan. 20, a suspect dressed in a red hoodie didn’t let a snow-filled plaza stop him from swinging what appears to be a bat numerous times before breaking into the parish’s public donation box. Just five days later, on Jan. 25, a man dressed in a gray hoodie can be seen snooping around the area and tugging at the donation box, while suspiciously peering over his shoulder.
Just this week, on Monday, a person in a gray and blue hoodie is seen on security camera taking what appears to be a hammer or mallet and starting to pound on the donation box. The suspect then reaches into the box, grabs something and takes off.
Hernandez said the donations are placed in a box next to an altar on a public patio within the church. The church confirms money was taken, but the total amount is unknown at this time. Hernandez said the donation boxes are worth $500. He added that he tried purchasing safer and more secure boxes after the first incident.
“They’re still coming, and coming and coming,” Hernandez said. “I feel very upset about this situation here in our community. I don’t believe what is happening, because it is something that is against our faith.”
There are several security cameras mounted around the church as well as signs posted warning of cameras, however, the deterrents didn’t stop the suspects.
Pastor pleads for help after church burglaries
Hernandez had a plea for the public.
“Help us to do something to protect our faith and to also protect our church and our parish,” he said.
Denver Police said the cases from Jan. 20-25 remain open investigations, and the report from Monday morning’s incident is not available in their system yet. However, if anyone recognizes the suspects, they’re encouraged to call Denver Police or Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-8767, where anonymous tips can be submitted.
Denver Police said they’ve done some outreach to the church in an effort to find ways to address this trend, and FOX31 will reach out again to connect with them. If residents in the area see any suspicious activity at or around the church during the night and overnight hours, they are encouraged to report it immediately.