RICHMOND HILL — A Bronx man pilfered money out of a church collection box for months before repenting Christmas Eve when confronted by a priest, according to the criminal complaint from the Queens district attorney.
Priests at the Holy Child Jesus Roman Catholic Church noticed their weekly donations were about $100 short between May and December of last year, according to the documents.
The holy men told NYPD officers that Joseph Azzurro, 56, of the Bronx, would suspiciously stop by the church during peak attendance periods when donations were highest and could be observed near locked collection boxes, which later appeared to have been tampered with, according to DA documents.
On Christmas Eve last year, one priest heard the sound of metal scraping near one of the collection boxes and upon investigating found Azzurro, who immediately fell to his knees and said, “Bless me Father, for I have sinned,” according to the DA.
After Azzurro was cuffed and charged with possession of burglary tools, criminal mischief and attempted theft, donation levels returned to normal, according to DA documents.