Charlottetown police are investigating the theft of a large donation box that was chained to a wall at St. Dunstan's Basilica.

Gary McGuigan -custom

Charlottetown deputy police chief Gary McGuigan said the thieves went into the church knowing what was needed to steal the donation box. (CBC)

The money is collected for the St. Vincent de Paul society, a Roman Catholic organization that helps the poor. Police say the metal box was stolen sometime between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday. Church officials say the heavy chain holding the box to the wall was broken.

Deputy police chief Gary McGuigan said the thieves went into the church with the equipment necessary to steal the box.

"They were already aware of what was needed to steal this box," said McGuigan.

"The donation box was used to assist people that are already in need. They have taken from people whose social or financial situation is not good and these are the people that need the help the most. So that is what's most disturbing to police and should be disturbing to anybody about this theft."

Anyone with information about the theft is asked to call police or Crime Stoppers.