2009-02-18 / Front Page

Cops Seek Info On Queens Church Bandits

By Liz Goff

Cops Seek Info On Queens Church Bandits

 By Liz Goff

Police in Flushing are searching for a team of brazen bandits who swiped a safe containing almost $19,000 in tuition and operating funds from a cash-strapped Catholic school on February 10. The break-in at the Holy Family School is the latest in a two-month-long string of similar burglaries at Catholic schools in Queens and Brooklyn, police officials said.

Teachers at Holy Family said they were shocked and devastated when they arrived for classes that same day and found the safe and its contents missing from a locked closet in the school’s main office.

Police said that thieves recently robbed St. Mary Gate of Heaven School in Ozone Park, where they made off with some $5,000 in cash and tuition checks. The cash was never recovered from that robbery, but church officials found the checks discarded in the street outside the school, indicating that the thieves had left them there.

Sources said office workers at Holy Family School had prepared approximately $6,000 in cash and $13,000 in tuition checks for a bank deposit on February 11. “It appears that the thieves had knowledge of the deposit and the layout of the building,” police sources said. “It appears they had no trouble finding the safe, in a locked closet, in a second-floor office.”
Police stated the crooks broke through two doors to gain entrance to the school building. They went straight to the office, where they tore the doors off the closet to get to the safe. They managed to drag the very heavy, very large safe to the street without disturbing several nuns who reside in the building.

Police stated that several Catholic schools in Brooklyn have reported similar break-ins over the past two months. Police officials were unable to say if the burglaries were related.
Anyone with information on the burglaries at the Holy Family School in Flushing or St. Mary Gate of Heaven School in Ozone Park is urged to call the Crimestoppers Hotline at 1-800-77-TIPS. The Hotline is offering a $2,000 reward to anyone with information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators.
--Liz Goff

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