Beaufort News

Church steps up security following votive donation theft

A thief who stole $200 from donation boxes at Holy Family Catholic Church on Hilton Head Island ended up taking more than money -- he robbed worshipers of unfettered entry to the main chapel during the day.

The Rev. Art Dalupang said church staff began locking the main doors to the chapel at 24 Pope Ave. on Monday after Friday's theft from two votive donation boxes. The doors will now be locked every day after Mass, he said.

"We're just trying to be vigilant," Dalupang said.

Those who want to enter the chapel will need to check in first with office staff. Parishioners also may use the Adoration Chapel, which does not house donation boxes, anytime before midnight, Dalupang said.

"The north, east and south doors were always open all day for people who wanted to come in," Dalupang said. "People who know the church and want to visit can come in easily by going to the office. They'll let you in."

The church has had no other robberies in the past year, but Dalupang says some people have fallen on hard times and resorted to desperate measures.

"With the hard life people are experiencing these days, they are sometimes turning to crazy things," he said. "We're praying for whoever did it."

Beaufort County sheriff's deputies are also investigating.

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