Cape Breton police are investigating the theft of thousands of dollars from a church just days before Christmas.
« Violated is a good way to describe it, » said Father Patrick O’Neil, the parish priest at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Sydney River. « It’s sad that anybody would break into any building, but especially a church. »
O’Neil said he had just finished mass the evening of Sunday, Dec. 16, when he noticed something wasn’t right with the parish office door.
« The casing had been broken and cracked and obviously somebody had forced the door open, » he said.
It wasn’t until the next morning that O’Neil and the parish secretary realized an envelope containing close to $4,000 was missing. The money had been raised at several fundraising concerts that were held that weekend.
Security cameras offer clues
O’Neil said security cameras in the church showed a man who O’Neil recognized.
« This person in question — I know innocent until proven guilty — but if it is this person, he’s known to have done it before and probably will keep doing it unless someone … challenged him on that, » said O’Neil. « Especially the police which could maybe give you a little scare to change your ways, if possible. »
The video footage from the security cameras has been turned over to Cape Breton Regional Police.
O’Neil said he’s hoping for accountability and justice.
« I don’t think the person in question is going to have anything left, or much, or we won’t get anything back, » said O’Neil. « I’m always open to the possibility that someone might say, ‘I’ve changed my mind. I want to ask for forgiveness,’ but regardless, we will recoup the loss through insurance if we have to. »
No arrests have been made so far.