‘This is not OK.’ Cops say man stole $500 in cash from church collection boxes

Doral police released a photo of a man detectives say stole $500 from a Doral church.
Doral police released a photo of a man detectives say stole $500 from a Doral church. Doral police

A man walked into a Doral church Monday morning, and he wasn’t there to pray, Doral police said.

Instead the man used a tool to pry open wooden collection boxes throughout Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, at 11691 NW 25th St., and stole about $500. The cash was from weekend offerings from parishioners, according to the church.

“Theft is theft,” said Doral police spokesman Rey Valdes. “But when you steal from a house of worship it’s compounded.”

The man wearing a burgundy shirt, blue jeans, black shoes and possibly a gold watch or bracelet on his left wrist caused about $800 in damages to the boxes, police said.

Mary Ross Agosta, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Miami, said the money in the collection boxes is used to help the church provide assistance to those in need.

“Had this man come forward for assistance, we gladly would have helped him through our Catholic Charities and other ministries,” Agosta said. “A church and other houses of worship are sacred places and any damage caused is a sign of disrespect.”

Valdes said the department hopes getting the man’s image out will help them identify him. The man could be facing two felony charges, including one for vandalizing a house of worship.

“This behavior is totally unacceptable,” Valdes said. “We have to come together as a community and say this is not OK.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Det. J. Gallardo at 786-562-5641 or 305-593-6699 ext. 2116.

Carli Teproff grew up in Northeast Miami-Dade and graduated from Florida International University in 2003. She became a full-time reporter for the Miami Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news.