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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Bronx Crime Watch: NW Bronx Churches Targeted in String of Break-ins

By David Greene

Detectives continue to hunt for the individual or people responsible in a string of break-ins and burglaries of churches and Catholic schools in Bedford Park, Norwood and Kingsbridge Heights. The thief or thieves responsible have netted thousands of dollars in cash and electronics.

On Monday morning, Our Lady of Refuge, on 196th Street and Briggs Avenue, became the fifth church or Catholic school targeted in the last three weeks when church officials found that someone had broken in through a basement window and stolen a pair of laptop computers, a video camera and $1,300 in cash.

Other houses of worship targeted recently include St. Ann’s Church on Bainbridge Avenue, Kingsbridge Evangelical Lutheran Church on Bailey Avenue, St. John’s Church on Kingsbridge Avenue and Our Lady of Angels on Claflin Avenue.

Principal Marivel Colon of Our Lady of Refuge School said several windows and doors will have to be replaced. “They threw things all over the place,” Colon said. The pair of stolen laptops had recently been purchased with a grant to their early childhood program.

“It’s devastating,” Colon continued. “I’ve been here 20 years and we’ve never had a break-in. Look at the neighborhood, there’s not a lot of money here.”

Police were expected to meet with church officials on Tuesday, Nov. 30, in an effort to prevent future robberies.

The latest crime spree began on Nov. 6, a month after a similar crime spree came to an end when police arrested Dimas Cuadrado, 28, of Throgs Neck. Cuadrado has pleaded not guilty to charges that connect him to several break-ins of Bronx churches.

Correction: In the original print edition article and blog post, we mistakenly put the wrong street location for Our Lady of Refuge Church. It is located on 196th Street.

Ed. note: This article appears in the latest edition of the Norwood News, which is out on streets and online now. Pick up a copy today.


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