PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - At the Islamic society of Greater Philadelphia Mosque on the Boulevard, members were turning the other cheek Thursday on a burglar who was caught on camera as he broke in twice and robbed donations boxes.
"I felt bad. Feel bad for the person, too. He might need a lot of help, maybe he's homeless, who knows, he can just come in and ask for money. We will help him," mosque member Amir Shakeel told FOX 29.
"You can always ask. People would be more than happy to go in their pocket and give to you," Abeus-sabur Darrisaw said.
On July 12, surveillance cameras were rolling as the suspect arrived on a bicycle, forced opened the locked front doors and quickly headed to donation boxes where he forced them open and stole money meant to help the needy and support the mosque.
"You shouldn't do that at all. You shouldn't even think about it," Darrisaw said.
"He obviously knows where he's going in the mosque and that was one of the concerns of the staff there," Lt. Dennis Rosenbaum of Northeast Detectives told FOX 29.
Five days later, the suspect was back. This time he targeted the locked safe at the front of the mosque, according to police.
"He came back on the 17th, manipulated the door the same way and then tries to get in the safe with a pair of scissors," Lt. Rosenbaum explained..
The alleged burglar wasn't successful, grabbed a quick drink of water and fled. Members of the mosque on the 7200 block of Roosevelt Boulevard near Cottman arrived for prayer Thursday afternoon, upset with the break-in, offering forgiveness and assistance.
"If they'd just knock on the door of these churches, a lot of them will give them money or food," Lt. Rosenbaum added.
The mosque is installing a new security system. Lt. Rosenbaum says there have been break-ins at several different houses of worship over the past couple of years, including local catholic churches. He hopes someone will recognize the guy and call police.