Thieves caught on video stealing cameras at Northwest Islamic Center

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO (KPLR) –Thieves were caught on camera stealing security cameras from a place of worship.

It happened at the Northwest Islamic Center just outside Overland, during the holy month of Ramadan.  But it’s clear the sacred holiday did not deter these criminals.

According to St. Louis County Police, 33 year-old Jessie Lacey, along with another man and woman, approached the Northwest Islamic Center overnight, and stole three security cameras off the side of the building.

Islamic Center board member Sohail Alvi discovered the thefts when he noticed wires dangling outside the building, where the cameras had been mounted.  He explains, “It is a very religious time, and usually people are there until 12 o’clock, 1 o’clock, and I think these guys waited and once we left, then they came out and did it.”

Before they were stolen, the cameras recorded these suspects in the act.  That video is now concealed as evidence.

Police say the video shows three people heading towards the building, setting up a small ladder, and then one man climbing it and twisting the camera to disconnect it.  His face is clearly visible.  Officers recognized him immediately from the surveillance footage and identified him as Jessie Lacey.

Alvi says roughly 15 security cameras were installed around the Islamic Center as a precaution, after a donation box filled with cash was stolen.

Altogether, it will cost about $2,500 to replace the stolen cameras, plus software. Still, these worshippers are just grateful the crime wasn’t worse.  “It’s ok as long as there’s no human injury or anything. It’s just the money I guess.  You can replace things with that. Everybody’s safe,” says Alvi.

Lacey is now charged with felony stealing.  Police say the suspects never entered the building.  It’s uncertain whether the thieves sold these cameras or whether it was an act of vandalism.