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Thief Arrested for Stealing from UES Church Collection Box, NYPD Says

By Shaye Weaver | August 11, 2017 5:45pm | Updated on August 14, 2017 9:58am

UPPER EAST SIDE — A thief with more than 30 prior arrests was caught using tape and wire to fish out donations from a collection box at St. Vincent Ferrer Church on Lexington Avenue near 65th Street, prosecutors say.

A church employee saw Angelo Roman, 35, moving his hands up and down as he stood next to the box — which is labeled "for the poor" — around 4 p.m. on Thursday, according to police.

As Roman left the church, he stuffed metal wires into his pockets and his bag and fled, the witness said, according to a criminal complaint.

Police tracked him down nearby and found four donation envelopes belonging to the church and a check to the church for $100, they said.

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They also found four metal wires with tape on the end of them, metal tweezers and a pair of scissors in Roman's bag, according to police.

The church did not return a call for comment on Friday.

Roman, who lives in the Bronx, was arraigned on charges of burglary, possession of burglar's tools, criminal mischief for tampering with the collection box, and petit larceny, according to the Manhattan District Attorney's office.

The judge set his bail at $2,500 cash or $5,000 bail. He's currently being held at the Manhattan Detention Complex downtown.

Roman has been arrested more than 30 times since 2000, including for stealing a parishioner's purse at the same church in 2013 and for stealing $600 in religious jewelry from the St. Bart's Church gift shop on Park Avenue in 2016, police said.

He served up to three years in state prison for a grand larceny he committed and had been on parole until 2016, according to the State Department of Corrections.

His attorney declined to comment Friday.