Two men attempt to steal from a Mid-City church - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Two men attempt to steal from a Mid-City church

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New Orleans, La - Something happened at a Mid-City church that stunned parishioners and brought the pastor face to face with men bent on evil. Robbers hit St. Anthony of Padua on Canal Street Tuesday night, but the weight of divine intervention may have foiled what they thought was the perfect crime.

Father John Restrepo offered prayers for the robbers during mass at St. Anthony of Padua.

"This is the worst and most brazen break-in since I've been here," he said.

A massive grey safe, curiously out of place outside the rectory door, was proof of upheaval that brought the priest face to face with breakers of the 8th Commandment.

"At 11:30 or so I heard a crash outside my window and I looked out on Canal Street, and I thought it was a car crash," he said. "A few minutes later I heard another crash and I looked out the window and I saw a man directing another car driving, back up to the safe.They got into the rectory with one of our broken doors that doesn't have a knob.They jimmied the latch."

The men rolled the safe from behind a door in the conference room all the way to the outside. That's when Father Restrepo and another priest spotted them and decided to boldly investigate.

Restrepo said he tried to call 911 but was so scared he kept pressing the wrong numbers.

He says the other priest spoke up.

"He said you guys better get out of here we just dialed 911 the cops are on the way. They looked at each other kind of casual, and drove off and left."

Drove off, he says, in a white car. Ill equipped for such a huge haul. Just ask book-keeper Lisa Alden.

"We had it moved in the past and it's taken six people so we had no idea how two people thought they'd move it in the car," she said.

Church member Jennifer Mire couldn't believe it.

"I can't believe somebody would steal from the church. It's a shame and we are doing work on the church and trying to get as much money as we can for St. Anthony," she said. But here's the clincher. The huge safe, so tantalizing to the robbers was just a paper weight on that night.

"There wasn't anything in it," Restrepo said. "We just keep our collection in there for one day."

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