Stonington Police on lookout for man who stole church collection box

stonington2STONINGTON -- The Stonington Police Department is trying to identify a man they said is responsible for stealing a collection box.

They said the collection box was stolen from St. Edmunds Retreat on Ender’s Island on Monday, September 12 during a service with priests from Springfield, Massachusetts. St. Edmund's is a Catholic retreat center in the Mystic area of town.

Church officials said the man walked out quickly when they noticed him. Father Thomas Francis Xavier Hoar said they didn't realize it was missing until the next morning.

Police in Stonington released surveillance photos of the suspected thief a week later on Monday, September 19.

FOX 61 spoke to officials at the church, who said this is not a typical collection box. This one is about 4 feet tall and pretty heavy. You can see in the photos that it practically covers the suspect as he’s carrying it.

Meanwhile, it’s not so much the unknown amount of money taken that upset Father Tom. He said the box placed in the lobby served as a memorial. "It was made by cherry wood by a fellow who was on our building committee when we built it in 2001. It was beautiful."

Approximately 16,000 people spend time at this church and retreat center each year, but Father Tom said he's not locking the doors after the incident. "We will never lock this chapel.People come here when they're looking for peace."

Police ask anybody that can identity the man to call them at 860-599-7541 or email them at twholean@stonington-ct.gov.

Police have not said how much money was in the collection box or who the suspect could be.

Stay with FOX 61 as this story develops.