Thief returns most of the gift cards taken in burglary of parish offices

Most of the gift cards stolen from St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Church in Oakville late last month were returned the morning of Nov. 30.

Msgr. Norb Ernst, pastor of the parish, said that the cards were left on a sidewalk and discovered by a parishioner early that Monday morning before Mass, with a note written in crayon expressing regret. The note stated it was from a 19-year-old who asked for forgiveness, he said.

"We said a prayer of thanks to St. Dismas," Msgr. Ernst said. "It's good news in that most of the gift cards were returned."

Someone broke into the church office and stole the large number of gift cards between the night of Nov. 25 and the 6:30 a.m. Mass on Thanksgiving when it was discovered that the sacristy door and lock were broken. Nothing was taken from there, but later it was learned that the gift cards were missing from the parish office where a locked outer door and two inner doors were broken in the burglary.

The parish is repairing the extensive damage from the burglary and will review security measures, Msgr. Ernst said, noting that the thief got past three locks to get to the cards. A surveilance camera captured some images, and the police were investigating the theft.

The funds from the sale of gift cards go to the parish budget, with much of that supporting the school, Msgr. Ernst said.

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