Thieves break into Imperial church, steal money meant for poor -

Thieves break into Imperial church, steal money meant for poor

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IMPERIAL, Mo. ( – Thieves broke into St. John Catholic Church last Wednesday and stole nearly $32,000 worth of possessions, including 888 gift cards. But the exterior door to the church was not tampered, possibly implying an insider may be connected to the crime.

Investigators said the first place targeted was a desk drawer with a master key. Retta Nahlik of St. John Catholic Church suspects the master key was used because the door was not damaged. The thief also used an object to pry open a pad lock that secured a metal cabinet with 888 gift cards which were stolen. 

The church purchases gift cards at a discounted price and then sells them at full price, using the profits to pay for building utilities. But investigators said the thief may not know that the gift cards are traceable. 
“Whenever you get lottery tickets stolen, they have a numbers or blocking numbers that you can call. If the card or lottery ticket is used, there’s usually a flag that pops up,” said Captain Ron Arnhart of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department.
The loss is a big blow to the church.
We don’t have the money to replace them,” Nahlik said. “I mean it's an inventory we have built up over time and so to build that inventory back up it's going to take some time."
The thief also made off with $200 in cash from the church’s donation box.
The church said a women's Bible study group prayed for the thief and forgave him or her.
Investigators are hoping they can trace the use of the cards and the thief or thieves can pay penance in the county jail.

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