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​ Priestly robes, books stolen from church, 3 arrested

Rev. Thomas Tokarz, of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Gardner, Mass., holding two of the priestly robes that were taken from the church along with other religious items in a robbery on Friday, June 13, 204; police say the stolen property was all recovered CBS Boston

GARDNER, Mass. - What would three young men want with priestly robes, books and other items from a church in central Massachusetts? Police in the town of Gardner aren't saying, exactly - but they and the clergy of St. Joseph Catholic Church are just glad they got everything back, according to CBS Boston.

Rev. Thomas Tokarz, of St. Joseph Catholic Church, said that on Friday the 13th, someone broke through a back window and then into a downstairs office. He said what was stolen was not locked up - religious books, candle holders, and ornate robes used for mass.

"They probably could have taken the chalices, but they didn't. They took the vestments, which means nothing to them. The only one who can wear them are priests," Tokarz told the station.

The specific items have no value on the open market.

Officers reportedly found all the items when they responded to a call about a man running through an abandoned building wearing priestly robes.

They arrested three 22-year olds from Gardner: Jonathan Boudreau, Shawn Mason and Shane McCaffrey, and charged them with receiving stolen property, and breaking and entering into the abandoned building. Police expect the trio will face additional charges.

Officers say they do have a motive for the crime, but they are not making it public until they finish the investigation into who broke into the church. They did say the theft of the religious articles was not for a satanic or anti-religious ceremony.

CBS Boston reported that none of the church's stolen property was damaged, and the church got all of it back.

  • Crimesider Staff

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