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Another charged in St. Mel’s Xmas heist

By Howard Koplowitz

Dennis Almodovar, 24, of 280 Dean St. in Brooklyn, had his bail set at $10,000 during his arraignment in Queens Criminal Court by Judge Ira Margulies, Brown said.Almodovar's attorney, Scott Davis, did not return a phone call seeking comment.The burglary rocked the Flushing parish at 28-20 154th St., with the pirated funds primarily earmarked for the needy in Brooklyn and Queens. Most of the money was in the form of checks. About $6,000 was cash, the DA said.”The victims in this case were not just St. Mel's and its parishioners, who opened their hearts and wallets during the holiday season, but the countless needy families who were the intended beneficiaries of their generosity,” Brown said.The DA said Davis returned the stolen cash Dec. 27 to an assistant district attorney and a 109th Precinct detective.Before the funds were returned, Flushing Savings Bank donated $5,000 to the church to help replace the stolen money.Another suspect from Brooklyn, 26-year-old Daniel Morales of 258 Bergen St., was arraigned Dec. 27 before Margulies on burglary and grand larceny charges, according to the DA. Brown said Morales' bail was set at $50,000 bond or $25,000 cash.Scott Davis, Morales' attorney, could not be reached for comment.Father Christopher Turczany, a priest at St. Mel's, said the suspects perpetrated the crime while parishioners were attending Christmas mass. Turczany said Friday that the church had been kept abreast of the investigation by Brown's office.”We're going through it,” the priest said of the burglary. Police said Almodovar's half-brother, Lenny Cancel, used to be the assistant to the church's caretaker, according to The New York Times. Cancel had yet to be labeled a suspect in the burglary, the paper said. But that police account could not be independently verified. Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

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