A man who allegedly pretended to pray before stealing money from the donation box at a Bell Gardens church was in custody today, police said.
The arrest of Mario Mendez, a 54-year-old transient, followed the release Tuesday of security video of the June 15 theft at St. Gertrude the Great Church at 7025 Garfield Ave.
A "concerned resident" who saw the video on a newscast recognized the suspect and contacted police, according to Detective Don Leuschen of the Bell Gardens Police Department.
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Detectives found Mendez at a Bell Gardens shopping center and arrested him about 9 p.m. Wednesday.
"When confronted with the video evidence, Mendez admitted to the crime," according to a BGPD statement.
Mendez was booked on suspicion of burglary and vandalism and was being held on $20,000 bail. He is scheduled to appear in court on Friday in Downey.