Pastor, parishioners shaken by rectory break-in

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Providence pastor who said he woke up to a thief just feet away from him remains, understandably, shaken up.

Father Frank announced to the St. Agnes parish on Saturday that the rectory had been broken into overnight.

“[Father] was visibly shaken, sweating,” recalled parishioner Camy Ruggiero. “The whole parish is really all up in arms now.”

The pastor told police, and then the parish, that his wallet containing personal information and credit cards was stolen from his bedroom, along with a black satchel.

The suspect was described by officials as a white male that was dressed in all black. He appeared to be someone familiar with the ins and the outs of the church, police said.

According to parishioners, there have been close to a dozen break-ins over the last few years. The church was forced to invest in a security system with surveillance cameras, bars on windows and locks on doors.

“The previous pastor lost his car,” added Ruggiero. “The guy took his keys, drove the car right out of the parking lot and stripped it.”

Ruggiero said she’s certain the same man is behind the crimes.

“I am fearful for the Father’s life. I really am, to have him laying in bed and have the guy run through the bedroom,” she said. “To see this, and see the new pastor all upset like that, it broke my heart. It really did.”

Authorities are investigating and hope to catch the suspect before it happens again.