Caught on Camera: Man steals poor box from Northeast Philadelphia church

- Police say they are searching for an armed robber who hit a Sunoco, 7-Eleven topped it off with a church in Northeast Philadelphia.

“They come over and they give an offering and you see they’re praying for a special intention or one of their loved ones," a priest from St. Anselm church said.

The votive offering at St Anselm Church can often be the last resort for the desperate. Those praying for God’s intervention. But in the early hours of last Friday morning—another kind of desperation was playing out. 

“His first attempt to try to get the money was just to break it," the priest  explained.

Caught on surveillance camera, a man in a light colored Nissan Rogue SUV breaks into the church on Dunks Ferry Road and comes out carrying the entire offering stand.

“They go into a church knowing that everything in the church is sacred.”

The suspect slipped on icy steps—realizing it doesn’t fit in the trunk—Philadelphia Police Lt. Dennis Rosenbaum says the man leaves but not for long.

“Within ten minutes, we believe it’s him that comes back in this white sedan and has tools with him," Lt. Rosenbaum said.

Police say he uses those tools to try to break into the lockbox, but breaking and entering into God’s house was not enough. In fact, the priest at St. Anselm we spoke with asked us not to identify them.

Turns out, the man was armed. It seems the church was literally the gunman’s last resort .According to police, earlier that night trying to rob a Sunoco on Woodhaven Road. Lt. Rosenbaum says the suspect's aggression escalated during a stick up of 7-Eleven on Byberry right after.

“Take a good look at that car and the other car and if anybody knows anyone who owns two cars like that or knows someone who operates two cars like that please give us a call," Lt. Rosenbaum said.

According to police, there was only $1 in the poor box.

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