South Bay

Thousands in Holiday Gift Money Stolen From San Jose Church

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Thousands of dollars in donation money meant for holiday gifts was stolen from a San Jose church over the weekend, and police are looking for the thieves.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Church is spreading the word of the theft that occurred Saturday afternoon just as baptism services wrapped up.

"It's pretty bad," said Rosalinda Serna of San Jose. "I don't know why they did that. That's not OK."

In the church's surveillance video, it appears a man and woman in disguise walk right past the pews and crucifix and allegedly steal a collection box.

"She brought gloves, she has the hood on," Rev. Gerardo Menchaca said. "So definitely they planned it. They thought about it before they came here."

The couple walks right out the door with about $3,000. Another box also was broken into. Menchaca says the money was donated to buy toys for kids.

"It's very sad," he said. "I'm very upset about it, especially because this is a very hardworking community. This is not a wealthy community. So I know people make a lot of sacrifices to buy the gifts for the children."

Every year on Jan. 6, the church celebrates the day the wise men visited Jesus and gives out hundreds of gifts to local children. Now their funds are depleted.

"It's not our money; it's the money of the children," Menchaca said.

Police are hoping someone recognizes the pair, and the church is praying for the thieves to do the right thing.

"As a priest, my hope is that these individuals will listen to this message, and they will change their minds," Menchaca said.

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