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Police searching for suspect who stole statues and other religious items from Queens church

Search on for man who burglarized East Elmhurst, Queens church
Search on for man who burglarized East Elmhurst, Queens church 01:43

NEW YORK -- Police are searching for suspect who ripped off a church in Queens.

As parishioners prayed at Our Lady of Fatima Roman Catholic Church in East Elmhurst on Saturday, police were searching for a man seen on surveillance video pulling a wagon full of items he stole from the house of worship.

"They're all sacred images of Jesus, Mary and the saints. They're priceless in that they represent an opportunity, a sacramental," Father Darrell DaCosta said.

Father DaCosta said it happened Thursday at around 5:30 a.m.

"What I felt was violated. It was like someone coming into your house. It is our home," DaCosta said.

Detectives said the thief got into the Queens church through an unlocked door, but then used special tools to force open an inner perimeter door to the gift shop.

Father DaCosta said he got away with cash, jewelry, statues and other religious artifacts.

"We're trying to help people find God and grow in their faith, so it's a total disrespect of that," he said. "We're praying for you."

Police say more than $1,000 in cash and religious items were taken. CBS2 was told no one was in the church at the time of the robbery.

Anyone with any information is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit a tip via their website or via DM on Twitter, @NYPDTips. All calls are kept confidential.  

6/3/23 Update: New images of man accused of stealing nearly $1,000 worth of statues, artifacts from Our Lady of Fatima Church in Queens

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