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Queens Chronicle

Cops searching for repeat Howard Beach church burglar

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Posted: Friday, July 19, 2019 11:29 am

Theodore Kurpiewski has been arrested twice before for breaking into the sacristy at St. Helen’s Roman Catholic Church in Howard Beach.

The 29-year-old man is being sought again by police who suspect he just did it a third time.

Surveillance photos of a burglar skulking around the offices of the church on 83rd Street were posted within hours of the break-in last Sunday.  

By Tuesday, police at the 106th Precinct tentatively identified the man in the photo as the same one who’d broken into St. Helen's in March 2010 and January 2013.

Church officials told police nothing appeared to have been taken in the latest burglary. 

Kurpiewski, then 20, was arrested for stealing $100 in cash and two chalices — including one belonging to the church’s then-pastor, the Rev. Robert Keighron — during the first robbery. 

His father returned the chalice several days after the break-in, which led police to Kurpiewski.

Three years later, he was picked up again and charged with stealing $200 from the sacristy.

The church is an easy target for thieves because security is relatively light — in keeping with a place of worship — and it is located just a few blocks from the Belt Parkway, which offers a quick get away.

Police posted a “wanted” notice on Tuesday asking for information on Kurpiewski’s whereabouts. 

His name is associated in phone records at several addresses in Lindenwood, but none of the numbers appear to be working any longer. 

It is the second time in six months the church has been burglarized.

In April, surveillance cameras captured a man pushing in the locked glass front doors of the sanctuary and a female companion entering the church where she emptied the donations boxes for votive candles. 

Police have made no arrests in the earlier break-in.

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