The Catholic Free Press
Thieves broke into Our Lady of Czestochowa Church at 34 Ward St. early Saturday, stole a projector, a speaker, 12 microphones, a small amount of cash and damaged a votive candle stand.
Father Ryszard Polek, pastor, said two thieves were photographed by a security camera that had just been set up. It covered the area where the break-in occurred. They entered through a basement door. A third thief who entered by breaking a small kitchen window was not photographed.
He said that the break-in took place sometime between 3 and 4 a.m. He said that the thieves “made a mess” in the church sacristy.
They also damaged the votive stand in front of the statue of Our Lady of Czestochowa where parishioners light candles and pray for intentions or loved ones.
They ripped the front from the metal box attached to the stand where parishioners drop donations. The box had been emptied the night before, he said. He estimated that the thieves got no more than $10. They also opened drawers in the sacristy but didn’t take anything.
He said the parishioners were told about the break-in and thefts at Masses Sunday. He said he asked them to keep their eyes open when they are around the church.
“If you see something, say something,” he said.
He said that when some parishioners saw the damage when they came to Mass the next day, they cried. The break-in, thefts and damage affected Father Polek, too.
“I couldn’t sleep the next night,” he said.
He estimated the value of the damaged votive stand and attached coin box at about $2,400. He said the projector is worth $400 to $500. One of the microphones, the one he uses at Mass, is worth about $500. He said the other 11 are worth about $200 each. They are used by the youth choir and must be replaced by the end of summer.
He said the parish plans to add more security cameras around the property and expand the alarm system.
Father Polek said he has served Our Lady of Czestochowa Parish for the last seven years, five years as associate pastor and two years as pastor. The break-in occurred one day after his second anniversary as pastor.
Worcester police are continuing their investigation of the break-in, burglary, damage and destruction of property and vandalism.
Of the thieves, Father Polek said, “We will pray for them. They need it.”