2017-04-19 / Front Page

Holy Hatred: Suspect Nabbed In Church Burglary Spree

By LIZ GOFF
Police at the NYPD Grand Larceny Division last week arrested a 23-year-old homeless man charged in a three-week burglary spree that targeted local houses of worship – including an Elmhurst church that was struck three times since March 23.

Cops said Joseph Woznick told investigators he pulled off the heists to “get back at God,” because he hates the Almighty.

“I’m mad at God. I don’t like church no more. I don’t want to deal with religion,” Woznick allegedly told investigators who nabbed him on April 11 that he is “sick and tired of hearing about religion.”

“I don’t break into houses, only churches,“ Woznick told the cops. “I break in to get back at God.”

Woznick, who was charged with multiple counts of burglary and grand larceny as hate crimes, is also a suspect in a February 26 church burglary in Winter Garden, Florida, police said. The odd church thief lived in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn until last year, authorities said.

Cops said Woznick started his religion-hating crime spree on March 21, when he swiped cash from three donation boxes at the Bangladesh Hindu Mandir Temple on 44th Avenue and 94th Street in Elmhurst.

Three days later, officials at the St. James Episcopal Church in Flushing arrived to find a door to the church office had been pried open and a lockbox containing about $1,900 cash was missing. Woznick allegedly returned to St. James on April 2 and 10, ransacked the office and stole a Canon digital camera, police aid.

Cops said Woznick stole three blank checks from the St. James office during the April 10 break-in. “When he came back for a third time we had nothing inside the office, so he stole blank checks, Fr. Paul Lai said.

A priest at St. Mary’s of Winfield Church in Woodside found a window in an office door broken on April 10, and an empty donation box lying on the floor next to a hammer, police said. Surveillance footage captured Woznick using the hammer to open the box, police said.

Following his arrest on April 11, Woznick confessed to stealing a $20 bill from underneath a statue of the Virgin Mary at the Woodside church, police said.

Cops also recovered surveillance footage of the St. James burglar wearing a backpack that exactly matches a backpack Woznick had with him when he was arrested. Two of the stolen St. James checks were recovered inside the backpack, along with a pawnshop receipt for a Canon digital camera, police said.

Cops said Woznick has prior arrests for possession of marijuana and possession of stolen property. He was ordered held in lieu of $200,000 bail at his arraignment at Queens Criminal Court.

“We are saddened by his hatred of God,” Fr. Lai said. “It’s hard to say why he has such hatred. He needs help.”


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