Police Search for Suspect in Church Burglary

Burglars damage offices and rooms at the Rocky Hill Congregational Church, however no religious items were stolen, according to the senior pastor.


 are investigating a break-in at the that occurred sometime between Sunday night and Monday morning.

When the nursery school director arrived at the congregational church just after 8 a.m., she noticed items were out of place and it appeared as if someone had been inside her room, Senior Pastor Donna Manocchio told reporters Monday afternoon.

The damage was confined to the nursery school room, the main office and one or two other offices, Manocchio said. The heaviest damage was inside the main office near where the secretary sits, according to a press release from police. No religious items were stolen and there was no damage to the religious sanctuary, according to Manocchio.

The staff at the church has not assessed the damage at this time and did not know what or if anything was stolen.

“If they got anything it was not much,” Manocchio stated.

No one was inside the building during the burglary and the last person to leave the church was at 8 p.m. on Sunday.

The Rocky Hill Police Department searched the building around 8 a.m. with a canine unit, but located no suspect. They also discovered that there was no sign of forced entry, according to a press release.

Rocky Hill will be working with police departments in the surrounding area after and a break-in There was also a burglary at the United Methodist Church in Wethersfield, according to the police's Facebook page.

“I don’t know if they are linked, but it seems to be a similar pattern,” Manocchio said. “We felt the pain with one and another.”

Some of the other churches vandalized were part of the same association, she added. Manocchio believes the break-in is the first burglary to ever occur at the church. 

 “It is a really unusual event for us,” Manocchio said.

She noted that the church has a good security system and the offerings on Sunday are taken away from the church very quickly. Manocchio added that the church would look at other ways to better secure the church.

“We will take the necessary precautions,” Manocchio stated. “We will see how we will move forward. We want to remain an open community that accepts everybody, no matter who they are.”

Manocchio called the burglary a “violation” of the church community. She felt people are becoming more “desperate” and churches are no longer considered off limits.

“This is a home for many, many people,” she explained. “And for that I am very, very sad.”

The church was closed Monday evening to allow staff to clean up the debris. The church will reopen Tuesday morning. The church will host a special prayer service on Tuesday at 6 p.m. for the community to pray for the person or persons who broke into the place of worship.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact police at 860-258-7640.

Joseph Wenzel IV January 26, 2012 at 06:18 PM
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