Nearly $4K stolen from Cape Breton church days before Christmas

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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. 

The cash was inside an envelope in the parish office. (Norma Jean MacPhee/CBC)

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. »

Fr. O’Neil says, ‘ultimately, I would like to see the person stop stealing.’ (Norma Jean MacPhee/CBC)

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.

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Protest planned in Cape Breton to raise awareness about Indigenous woman’s murder – Halifax

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Protesters are expected to block a causeway connecting Cape Breton Island to mainland Nova Scotia today in an effort to raise awareness about the unsolved murder of a local Indigenous woman.

Cassidy Bernard, a 22-year-old mother of twins, was found dead at a home on the We’koqma’q First Nation last month.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia First Nation offers $100K reward for information on death of young mother

Police are calling the woman’s death “suspicious,” and say the two infants – in the home at the time of the incident – were not harmed.

Chief Rod Googoo says the 45-minute march on the Canso Causeway will shine a spotlight on the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women across Canada and hopefully shed some light on what happened to Bernard.

A Nova Scotia First Nation is offering a reward of $100,000 for information related to the death of Cassidy Bernard.

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He says the young woman was a “sweet and innocent child herself,” and that her death has left the community in a state of shock and grief.

The We’koqma’q band council in Waycobah is offering a $100,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the woman’s murderer.

RCMP Cpl. Jennifer Clarke says police will be on site today, ensuring the safety of the group and allowing them to “peacefully express their views.”

She says police will keep the group to one lane of the causeway and keep the other lane open for emergency vehicles.

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Two men charged after woman injured in ATV crash in Cape Breton – Halifax

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Two men are facing charges after a woman was injured in a head-on ATV crash in Cape Breton on Tuesday.

Nova Scotia RCMP say the crash at 6:13 p.m. happened around Salmon Rover Road in L’Ardoise, N.S., about 55 kilometres east of Port Hawkesbury.

READ MORE: Halifax police arrest man after failed drug store robbery

Police say the woman was thrown from the ATV and was later sent to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The two men driving the ATVs were uninjured. One left the scene and the other stayed, according to police.

Police determined that the 42-year-old driver who remained at the scene was riding an ATV that was stolen from a home in Rockdale.

He is facing charges of driving causing bodily harm and impaired driving causing bodily harm. He’s scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 11.

READ MORE: Halifax fire crews knock down blaze at abandoned building off Gottingen Street

The driver who left the scene was located a short time later and charged with failing to remain at the scene of an accident and driving while disqualified.

The 34-year-old man from L’Ardoise is also scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 11.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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‘Aggressive moose behaviour’ shuts down trail at Cape Breton Highlands park

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The Skyline Trail at the Cape Breton Highlands National Park is temporarily closed because of « aggressive moose behaviour, » says Parks Canada.

The trail offers views of the Cabot Trail and the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The announcement was made in a Facebook post Sunday morning at 11:20.

« Visitor safety is Parks Canada’s top priority, » said the post.

Parks Canada said it is monitoring the situation and will post new information when it becomes available.

Read more stories from CBC Nova Scotia.

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