Donation-stealing duo still on the run after church theft

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EUREKA, MO (KPLR) – The duo who stole donations from a local church were caught on camera, but one year later, they remain on the run.

“We have not forgotten about this case,” Eureka Police Detective Bill Knittel said. “We’d like to proceed and conclude this for Sacred Heart.”

In February 2016, two men broke into the rectory Sacred Heart Church on Highway 109. Security footage shows the men, cloaked in white and wearing gloves. One of the men is seen on camera handing a package of money over to the other man. The men appear to be Caucasian and in their early to mid 40s.

The suspects took cash and a few dozen checks from a safe in the rectory.

Weeks after the theft was reported, detectives located several of the checks nearly 50 miles away in Troy, Illinois.

A Eureka resident who happened to be doing business in Troy spotted one of the checks on the ground and contacted police.

“Those individuals either have a tie there or know the area. This isn’t off the interstate highway. It’s off of one of their main drag strips. And then another side road in Troy,” Detective Knittel said.

Perhaps most alarming to the church and police is the clarity of the images of the suspects.

While one of the suspects is removing a bag from the church safe, he provides a clear shot of his face.

“He looks up and he realizes there’s a camera right above his partner’s head. He looks physically right up to it,” Detective Knittel said.

At this point, police believe it is possible the suspects are from out of town, given that no calls have been placed identifying the individuals. But police are not giving up hope.

“We do know for a fact that churches collect funds for the needy,” Detective Knittel said.