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Man Arrested for Stealing Poor Box Money From St. Catharine's in Holmdel

Police arrested Robert Hanna, 43, of Colts Neck and charged him with burglary, theft and possession of burglar tools.

In recent weeks, St. Catharine's Church staff noticed a discrepancy in the weekly cash count from the six "poor boxes" operated by the charitable St. Vincent de Paul Society, located inside the Middletown Road church. They changed the locks on the donation boxes. But the thefts continued.

The church contacted Holmdel Police Dept., which set up surveillance equipment. On Easter Sunday, police say they videotaped a man breaking into the locked church. He used a device to wrestle money from the six locked boxes mounted on the walls. According to police, he spent 45 minutes working the boxes, extracting money. Because the Christian Holy Week was April 1 to April 7, the boxes were filled with donations from parishioners.

Lt. Michael Smith said a break in the case occurred when Holmdel Police shared the video images with surrounding police departments, and both Colts Neck Police and Middletown Police recognized 43-year old Robert Hanna from prior incidents. The police press release says his address is 52 State Highway 34, Colts Neck, which is the same address as Adelaide Hanna Realtors. Hanna is currently unemployed.

Holmdel Police arrested Hanna and charged him with burglary, theft of more than $500, and possession of burglar tools. He was released on bail.

According to Lt. Smith, the church is missing more than $1,000.

Hanna is a former resident of Holmdel. 

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