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Man Arrested for Burglarizing Church in Lindenhurst

Suffolk County Police have arrested a Lindenhurst man for burglarizing a church donation box yesterday evening.

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Lindenhurst, NY - September 21st, 2013 - Suffolk County Police have arrested a Lindenhurst man for burglarizing a church donation box yesterday evening.

First Precinct Crime Section and Community Oriented Police Enforcement (COPE) officers set up surveillance at Our Lady of Perpetual Help R. C. Church, located at 210 South Wellwood Ave., following several previous thefts involving cash from candle donation and poor boxes.  A male suspect was seen on the surveillance video using a wire-like object as a hook to remove cash from the boxes. He was disguising his identity by wearing a hood or surgical mask.

First Precinct Police Officers James Castaldo and Howard Schuman, who were secreted in the church to monitor the video, observed a suspect removing cash from the candle donation box and arrested Leonard Degaetano, 43, as he attempted to flee from the church at 9:10 p.m.

Degaetano, of Lindenhust, was arrested and charged with Burglary 3rd Degree and Possession of Burglar’s Tools. He was also charged with Burglary 3rd Degree for a previous theft in the church.

The investigation is continuing. Detectives are asking anyone with information about these thefts to contact the First Squad at 631-854-8152 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls will remain anonymous.

A criminal charge is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Incident:         Man Arrested for Burglarizing Church

Location:        210 South Wellwood Ave., Lindenhurst

Date/Time:     Friday, September 20, 2013 at 9:10 p.m.