Los Angeles

Man Pretended to Pray Before Stealing From Donation Box, Crossed Himself Before Leaving Chapel: Police

Police are searching for a man who pretended to pray before he stole from a donation box in a Bell Gardens chapel last month. 

The man stole money from the donation box in Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel, located inside St. Gertrude's Church in Bell Gardens on June 15, according to a statement from Bell Gardens police.

After scoping out the best way to enter, the man walked in through the front doors of the church and made his way to the chapel where he pretended to pray. There, he located the donation box, forced it open and stole money from inside, police said.

Then the man "put the backpack on, did the sign of the cross and walked out of the chapel," said detective Don Leuschen of the Bell Gardens Police Department.

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles released a statement noting the box "may have had donations from parishioners and the public that are used to help the poor and those most in need."

Although the burglar walked past several people, his presence did not raise suspicions because he acted like he was coming to the church to pray.

Surveillance video captured a man with a shaved head, about 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing about 160 pounds committing the theft.

Anyone with information was asked to call the Bell Gardens Police Department at 562-843-4031.

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