SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) -
Who would steal from a church donation box?
A thief has hit a historic Santa Fe church twice in the last week, and the pastor of the Santuario de Guadalupe
says that sticky fingered crook is causing lots of damage.
The shrine was built in 1795 and is the oldest church in the nation honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe
, but Saturday under the watchful eye of a statue dedicated to Saint Juan Diego, someone committed a grave sin.
"Someone came and stole money from the candle box, the donation box, and we've been changing box, changing lock and people are still doing it," said Reverend Tien-Tri Nguyen Pastor of the Shrine. "It's so sad."
The thief or thieves pried open a little wooden box that holds donations from the faithful and swiped the money inside, and this wasn't the the first time.
The historic church, that sees pilgrims from all over the world, has been targeted four times in the last six months. Wednesday someone busted through rod iron bars in the back of the church, broke a window and stole two wooden crosses.
"It cost more to fix the thing that they break than what they steal," commented the pastor.
He says the crook or crooks didn't get away with much, maybe $20 , but they caused at least $1,000 in damage. KRQE News 13's has reported
about the constant string of burglaries and robberies plaguing Santa Fe and with even the holiest places being targeted, the father prays everyone will do their part to help.
"We need to be vigilant and to see any suspicious activity, then we need to report it police and take care of each other when we see things," Father Nguyen said.
The church serves the homeless lunch three times a week, and Father thinks it's likely one of those patrons is behind the crime.
He says he wishes people would ask for help instead of stealing from the Lord.
Since the thefts, the church has started collecting the cash from the donation boxes and depositing it in the bank every night. The money is used to pay for meals for the needy and day-to-day necessities.
They say they are in dire need of an upgrade to their security system.