Image released of man who stole $11,000 from Lower East Side church

Police have released new images of the man who stole thousands of dollars from Immaculate Conception church on the Lower East Side over the weekend.

The photo, along with surveillance video taken inside the church rectory, shows a man who police said took $11,000.

The Rev. Kevin Nelan, a priest at Church of the Immaculate Conception on 14th Street, said the money was brought to the church for safekeeping. "The money he stole is from our hospital chaplain who lives here, who was holding it for a bishop who is visiting from Nigeria."

The chaplain was not able to deposit the money in the bank Friday, said Nelan, who thinks unfortunately the thief just got lucky. "That that room was open and that that kind of money was there, because normally there would not be that kind of money sitting there," he said. "That money is, for them, very important, you know. And then for someone to break in and take it, it's a shame."

Nelan said the man came into the rectory with 30 other people following a Mass Sunday, and broke away from the group. He went to the second floor where he's picked up by security cameras.

"He tried my room twice," said Nelan. "He then disappears off camera to go up to the third floor."

That's when he stole the money and left.

As people left Mass Wednesday night, they were just learning about the theft.

"We need to pray for this guy, whoever he is, hope that the money is returned and he sees the errors of his ways," said one.

Police are asking anyone with information about the case to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS.
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