When volunteer money counters opened the safe Saturday morning at a Catholic church in rural eastern Kansas, they found something interesting:
“Cleaned out,” the Rev. Larry Albertson said of the cash offerings from five Christmas season Masses at Queen of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church east of Bucyrus, Kan.
An offense report by the Miami County sheriff’s office valued the theft at $15,000.
Sounds like an inside job, Albertson said Monday.
He told his congregation Sunday that someone familiar with where things were located in the church got the key, opened the safe in the sacristy, took the money, then returned the key to its hiding place.
“Hard to believe somebody could have just happened upon the key,” Albertson said. “Seems you’d have to know where it was.”
He also told anyone to cancel any check they may have written to the church.
The donations were in five sealed plastic money bags, one for each Mass. The church had been left unlocked for parishioners who wanted to come in and see the church’s Christmas display.
The church at 22779 Metcalf Ave. serves about 700 families.
“Much to my regret, I had to tell them,” Albertson said. “They were pretty shocked. You could have heard a pin drop.”