Church's offering missing
Wal-Mart shopper's wallet lifted from cart

COVINGTON - More than $1,600 in cash and check offerings to Grace United Methodist Church were reported stolen Thursday.

About 4 p.m., Officer Pat Womack responded to the church on Washington Street and spoke with the treasurer, he said in an incident report.

The treasurer told Womack the church's deposit was placed in deposit bags and then put on a table in the finance room Feb. 17. When she went to make the deposit on Feb. 20, however, the treasurer said she noticed that one of the bags, which contained $1,635 in checks and $165 in cash, was empty.

According to Lt. Wendell Wagstaff, detectives will more than likely begin their search for those responsible by looking internally at the church and the people who had access to the money.

"I'm sure the detectives will talk to (the treasurer), find out who had access to the money, who was in the building at that particular time and go from there. In my 19 years, I've only had one other real theft from a church," he said, adding that theft involved a man who entered a church and stole petty cash, not the theft of an offering.

In other crime news, police say the theft of a wallet from a woman while she shopped at Wal-Mart earlier this week is not related to a duo of thieves who have committed similar crimes.

Shortly after 4 p.m. Wednesday, Officer Pat Womack responded to a residence on Worsham Street and made contact with the victim, he said in an incident report.

The victim said she was shopping at Wal-Mart on Industrial Boulevard when an unknown person took her wallet from the basket of her shopping cart.

The wallet reportedly contained $400 in cash and numerous personal belongings.

Wagstaff said detectives are in the process of reviewing the store's surveillance camera footage to see if they can identify a suspect.

Police are still asking for the public's help in tracking down a pair of thieves who reportedly work together to distract unwitting victims while they steal their wallets from their purses at local stores.

"One person will ask the victim a question, "Oh, hey can you help me get this,' "Can you help me with this' or "Hey, I'm trying to make this,' ... they get their attention and the other person, who sometimes isn't even seen, reaches in and takes the wallet," said CPD Detective Daniel Seals in a previous interview with the Citizen. "Most victims don't even know the wallet is gone, until they go to pay for whatever they're there buying."

Police ask anyone with information about any of these incidents to call the CPD at 77-786-7605. Tips can be given to the CPD anonymously by visiting their Web site at www.covingtonpolice.com and clicking on "contact us" and then "secret witness."

Joel Griffin can be reached at joel.griffin@newtoncitizen.com.