Third break in in four months at Limerick churchFriday, May 11st, 2012
Thefts and incidents of vandalism at churches are reported on a regular basis, including on CiNews, but normally, each building suffers one hit.
However, a County Limerick church has been targeted no fewer than three times this year already.
“We have had three break-ins in the church this year, one in January and then two in the one week, Easter Monday night and the latest one,” explained a weary Canon Conor Ryan, parish priest of Hospital. “In the first break-in the window was damaged and in the second break-in, they forced the lock on the door,” he explained.
“And in the third incident, the new window we had in following the first incident was damaged,” referring to a stained glass window in the church was broken by the intruder who also broke into the sacristy.
“We had a new stained glass window in so you are probably talking about it costing close to €1,000,” Canon Ryan estimated. Aside from that, he went on, “There was nothing taken in any of the incidences. They were looking for money and the parish does not keep any money in the church.”
The most recent incident was part of a series in the village on the same night, in which damage was also caused to windows and doors at a school, a funeral home and a drapery shop. It is understood that damage was caused to the door of the secondary school.
A window at the drapery store was smashed while a glass door was damaged at the funeral home.
Gardaí in Bruff responded to the incidents after an alarm was activated at St John the Baptist Community School but it is understood the man made his getaway on foot and Gardaí appealed for information.
Latest statistics show there were 313 reported burglaries within the Limerick division alone during the first quarter of this year. Meanwhile, a man who was found counting money he had stolen from charity boxes in St Joseph's Redemptorist Church in Dundalk received a sentence of six months in jail.
Kevin Owens (36), whose address was given as care of Dundalk Simon Community, had already admitted breaking into the church on March 21. He was asleep when priests found him shortly before 8 o’clock as they opened the church for Mass, and he was counting the cash he had stolen from charity donations when Gardaí arrived to arrest him.
He also pleaded guilty to trespass at a block of flats from where a bicycle was missing, a burglary at a branch of Lidl and intoxication at Dundalk Shopping Centre on various dates last year.
by Fintan Deere