Father Reggie speaks about Our Lady of Fatima theft


"Churches help people, they don't hurt people," Father Reggie Norman said Friday afternoon about a recent theft at his church, "when you steal from a church, you hurt the people we help."
Police have been investigating the theft of a donation box from Our Lady of Fatima chapel since last week. They have since released camera footage of the man they suspect may have stolen the box.
"We actually didn't release the pictures, the police did," Father Reggie said, noting the images came from an overflow camera, not a surveillance camera. "We just wanted them to investigate. But, rumor has it this individual may be operating in other communities as well."
Stressing he and his church are not in the business of sending "anyone" to jail, the priest said he hopes the publicity surrounding the theft will help protect other communities.
"We'd like to put people on more alert, to stop someone doing this as a pattern before it escalates. I don't want to personally send anyone to jail. We want to just say, please don't steal from churches," he said.
Both Capt. John Lynch of the Wilton police and Father Reggie said it was unfortunate to see such a crime, because the church would have been more than happy to help anyone in need before they resorted to theft.
"There's not a week that goes by that we don't get requested [for financial help]," Father Reggie said. "We give out Stop & Shop cards, Subway cards, we even once went down to the train station to buy someone a monthly pass."
"The great thing about the whole Wilton community is that the people are very generous. We have something called the Pastor's Fund which people donate to knowing we'll use the proceeds from that to help people in need," he said.

The camera


The suspect in the theft is described as a white male, 40 to 50 years of age, about 5’8″ tall, medium build, with olive skin and gray (salt and pepper) hair.
At the time he was wearing a green jacket and blue sweatpants with a stripe down the side. Police singled him out because he was in the vicinity of the missing cash box and was acting suspiciously. Anyone with information is encouraged to call Wilton police at 203-834-6260.

Replacement


According to police, the stolen box was one of two used to collect donations for the use of prayer candles available in the front of the church.
Church officials estimated there would have been about $100 in the box when it was stolen. It will cost about $150 to replace the box, as well.
Capt. Lynch said church burglaries are not unheard of in the area. In fact, he said, there was once a serial burglar specifically known for stealing valuable religious relics from churches in the tri-state area.
“Most churches are open to parishioners, so people are in and out all day,” he said, noting the influx and egress of crowds makes churches prime targets for thieves.
Of church burglars, Father Reggie said they only hurt those who are already hurting.
"They only hurt the whole system, but we will recover," he said.