Church employee arrested for allegedly stealing from parish
Aug 17, 2009
Aug 18, 2009
Police say a trusted employee of a local church is now in custody after allegedly stealing thousands of dollars from the parish. They say the story is one that is very unfortunate, very ironic, and a sign of the times.
Peaceful sounds of church bells ring as one of its members sit in jail after allegedly stealing $5,500 from parish collection envelopes.
The name of the church where he's employed becomes the definition of irony for the day because the person has the same name sake as the person who the church is named after as well.
Ironically the suspect's name is Jesus Villa, and at 44 years old, he was even born on Christmas Day of 1965.
“Authorities say the theft happened back in July within the walls of San Luis Rey and when investigators approached villa, he denied the entire incident until police showed him surveillance video.”
“After being confronted with evidence at hand, he voluntarily admitted to stealing the money.”
Authorities say it was the pastor of the church who first noticed money was disappearing from the safe.
He installed surveillance video, which caught the suspect in the act. Police say the incident is a prime example of property crimes they've been dealing with lately.
The spike in thefts, authorities believe, is because of a down economy and criminals are getting desperate.
“Not even the church is immune from criminality, not even from a person working in the church.”
Meanwhile Villa will be charged with theft and burglary of habitation and is being held on an $115,000 bond. The Diocese of Laredo could not comment on the case as it involves personnel issues that are confidential.