Nfld. & Labrador

Theft of 'very, very heavy' church safe unnerves Burin parishoners

The theft of a large old-fashioned safe from the basement of a Roman Catholic church in Burin has unnerved people and left the parish short badly-needed fundraising cash.
Thieves stole $4,000 and a heavy safe from St. Patrick's Parish, Burin. (CBC)

The theft of a large old-fashioned safe from the basement of a Roman Catholic church in Burin has unnerved people and left the parish short badly-needed fundraising cash.

Rev. Cecil Critch of St. Patrick's Parish, Burin said there hadn't been a break-in in 20 years until thieves removed a four-by-four safe from the social centre in the basement of the church.

The theft was discovered by volunteers at a bingo game Sunday evening.

"It was gone," Critch said. "It was one of those really large old-time safes that is very, very heavy. And you would never think someone would take that because you can't lift it."

Critch said the safe must have been taken out of the church after the secretary left Friday evening. No one would have noticed anything during mass Saturday because the safe was kept in a locked basement and there was no sign of forced entry from the outside door which is near the office. 

'Targeted area'

"I don't think one person lifted that out and somebody would have to know where the office was. it was pretty well a targeted area where the office was," he said. "There as no sign of … they didn't do any damage except the door [to] the office."

The safe usually doesn't contain much money because, Critch said, it was always deposited right away. But this time, there was a $4,000 float for an upcoming fundraising event.

The social centre is used for weddings, bingo, and other events, and has a food bank. 

"It's very busy social centre. We have great volunteers. We're trying to pay the church off. We have about $80,000 left to pay on the church. So they've been working for the last 20 years, almost the same volunteers, to try to do that," he said.

"We're going to get a security firm in today to look at how to beef up the security in that area, in the church building and around the church social centre," said Critch. "Unfortunately that's what you have to do nowadays."

Insurance will cover the stolen cash, but Critch said the theft has unnerved everyone.

"Everybody feels really bad about it," he said.

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