Thief Hits 3 New Jersey Churches, Steals Donations for Mom With Breast Cancer

Police in a New Jersey township are searching for a thief who targeted three churches in eight days, including one that had been raising money for a mother battling breast cancer. 

Pastor Tom Rice of the Cranford Alliance Church in Cranford said the $360 that members had been raising to support Susana Villarino, a mother of twin girls with stage IV breast cancer. 

"It's metastasized to her skin, basically, at this point," he said. "That money was the money we had received from sales of those tickets for the fundraiser." 

Cranford Alliance was the first church hit last Monday. Nobody was in the office, and the thief broke in and found the donation money, Rice said.

Then on Saturday around noon, he struck again twice, first at the Cranford Methodist where he found $50, according to police. About a half-hour later, he broke into the priests' residence attached to St. Michael's Church, but this time was caught by a parish priest who scared him off. 

"You could say it's the lowest of the low crimes we have, which leads me to believe we have an individual with some problems," said Cranford Police Chief James Wozniak. 

Rice said, "I would say, 'Hey, this is who you stole from,' but I would also extend mercy, grace and forgiveness. Whoever this person is, we've got a whole church praying for them." 

To donate to A Cure for Susanna, click here. Anyone with information on the suspect, pictured below, is asked to contact police. 

Contact Us