Phony courier steals church offering

July 26, 2011 4:26:34 PM PDT
Church members were stunned to hear their church had been scammed, fooled into handing over cash and checks that members gave as offerings. It was an unusual scheme to con the church and its members out of their donations. It happened at St. Theresa's Catholic Church near Memorial Park.

Police won't say how much money the fake courier got away with. But one thing is certain -- this crime, according to investigators, was well thought out.

Offerings mean everything to a church.

"Definitely," agreed Megan Andrews. "I mean, it's, you know, basically it's money that's going to help people."

Last week a woman dressed as a courier decided to help herself to money donated by members of the congregation at Houston's St. Theresa's Catholic Church. Police say the woman wore the uniform of the company used by the church and knew the protocol for picking up the bank deposits. Church officials told investigators they had no reason to be suspicious.

Houston Police Department spokesperson Jodi Silva said, "She had information on the courier's name, she had information on the people who worked at the church and what time the courier normally comes by, so she had all this information."

Fifteen minutes after the woman left, the real courier assigned to that route showed up. Police say that's when church officials realized they'd been had.

Andrews said, "I think it's just completely tragic that somebody would actually go and take money that's helping people. It's like stealing from the poor."

A spokesperson with the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston told us, "We are cooperating with the local authorities in their investigation and remain hopeful they will apprehend the culprit."

Some believe she'll have to answer to a higher authority, whether she's caught or not.

Sara Munguia said, "God is the best law and he's going to punish them, sooner or later."

Police tell us it's too early to speculate whether this was an inside job.

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