Many people give to churches, and then there are those who take from them. A Maryland man was recently arrested after stealing donations from various churches in the Washington, D.C. area.
The incidents started on June 28. A theft was reported in the parking lot of St. Mary of Sorrows Catholic Church in Fairfax, Virginia, near Ox Road. The man allegedly stole a purse from a vehicle in the parking lot. He found credit cards inside the purse and used them at nearby stores.
The man returned to the church on July 4. He stole from two donation boxes and allegedly cashed a check he found inside
On the evening of July 14, police received a report of an unresponsive man in a truck in Bailey’s Crossroads. The man was in the truck, which was believed to have been stolen. The man was treated for medical issues and later arrested.
Based on security camera footage, police were able to identify the man as a 61-year-old from Maryland. He has been identified as a suspect in several other larcenies around Fairfax. He has been found responsible for thefts in churches and other businesses.
The man is facing multiple criminal charges, including credit card theft, credit card fraud, identity theft, shoplifting, unauthorized use of a vehicle, and possession of burglary tools. More charges are possible as police conclude their investigation.
Stealing from a church can be lucrative for some people, especially if it is a larger church with many attendees. A Sunday with multiple services could yield thousands of dollars in offerings.
While it’s not common for someone not affiliated with a church to attempt to steal from it, it could happen if the person is familiar with the church’s operations. That’s why many thefts happen from inside the church. Ushers, treasurers, bookkeepers, and others with access to church funds can easily steal cash. They can also cash checks or write checks out to themselves. Many come up with elaborate schemes to steal church money without getting caught.
Church fraud, however, is not usually a one-time event. It tends to happen over time—seven years on average. It often involves small amounts at first so that it is harder to detect. Plus, it is harder for churches to prevent fraud, as they typically lack the controls to do so. This makes them an easy target.
Robbing an individual, building, or organization is a serious crime in Maryland. Depending on how it occurred and whether or not weapons were involved, a person can face decades in prison.
A Columbia robbery & burglary lawyer from The Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. can help you with your case. A felony charge is possible and it can affect you for the rest of your life. We’ll help you get the best possible outcome. Call (410) 774-5987 or fill out the online form to schedule a free consultation. We have two offices to serve you.
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Glen Burnie, MD 21061
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