A man with a vendetta against the Church stole more than $100,000 in cash and goods from churches across Victoria in a two-month crime spree, police have claimed. Source: Sunday Herald Sun.
Between February and April, Stephen Peters is alleged to have smashed his way into churches, bashed a priest, stolen three church cars valued at $72,000 and pinched $30,000 in cash.
Fr Anthony Doran of Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish in Ringwood, who was assaulted, told the Sunday Herald Sun of the impact.
“It has been a long process. We’ve been organising repairs and increasing security. I’m trying to be more vigilant,” he said.
In another terrifying attack, Mr Peters was allegedly armed with a hammer when he broke into a Balwyn church, attacked a staff member and caused more than $1000 damage.
The 49-year-old travelled as far as Morwell, Echuca and Swan Hill to target churches. He also stole from parishes in Pascoe Vale, Ringwood, Kew, Glen Iris, Doncaster, Balywn, Camberwell, Clifton Hill, Heidelberg, Ivanhoe, Prahran, Coburg, Burwood, Reservoir and Preston.
In all, 21 churches were robbed on 13 days over two months.
Magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg last week said the attacks were sparked by “personal reasons”.
“He was deliberately picking on the Catholic Church because of his personal reasons and showed no remorse,” Mr Rozencwajg said.
Mr Peters is charged with causing almost $3000 overall damage to church buildings, smashing his way through doors and windows so he could commit his crimes. Facing 66 charges in relation to churches, he has also been hit with more in relation to a separate spate of offending.
He is being held on remand and appeared at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court this week. His lawyer said he would plead guilty to the offending following negotiations with prosecutors.
Offender ‘attacked 21 Catholic churches’ in $100,000 thefts over grudge (Sunday Herald Sun)