Glendale police officers are searching for a man they believe repeatedly pilfered donation boxes at Holy Family Catholic Church in recent months, stealing hundreds of dollars meant for the poor.
The most recent incident took place on Dec. 27 when the man, described by witnesses as 5 feet 10 inches tall, bald, about 50 years old and of Middle Eastern or Latino descent, was spotted at 4 p.m. in front of Holy Family School, said Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz.
The man disappeared, only to be seen an hour later inside the Lomita Avenue church entrance stealing money from the Haiti relief offering box. He fled before police arrived.
"Unfortunately, it is an easy target because it is a church that often opens its doors to the members of the community, and the church does have members that donate money to various causes," Lorenz said.
The man has been seen at or in the vicinity of Holy Family several times, said facilities director Bill Evans, including once when he was spotted and pointed out by the parish priest during Mass. He is often riding a bicycle with a silver basket attached to the handlebars.
The church staff believes that the man has been using a tool to take cash from other donation boxes in the church. About $400 has been stolen, Evans said.
"We just haven't been able to catch him at it," Evans said.
All Holy Family parishioners have been notified about the thefts, Evans said, as has a neighboring church.
Most recently, the man was seen wearing a blue jacket and jeans, Lorenz said. He also has several visible tattoos on his neck.
"You would think that it being a church that someone wouldn't steal from them, as sacred as it can be," Lorenz said.