Criminals target churches because large amounts of cash are taken in every weekend, and people in church are pretty trusting.  A good surveillance system (monitored by a security team member) at the entrance and exit may have captured the thief’s identity.

According to the Mercury News writer Jason Green,

“Thousands of dollars were stolen Sunday from the collection baskets of a church in the Palo Verde neighborhood, according to police.

The theft occurred around 12:45 p.m. following the final service of the day at Cornerstone Community Church, at Meadow Drive and Middlefield Road, said Palo Alto police Agent Marco Estrada, who pegged the loss at between $8,000 and $10,000.

No suspects have been identified, Estrada said, but police are hoping to track down a “person of interest” in the case.

The person, who was spotted sitting in a rear pew, asked a church official if the service was the last one of the day, Estrada said. The official told him it was and turned around to talk to a family. The person was then seen walking out of the church.

Moments later, the official noticed that the collection baskets at the front of the church had been emptied, said Estrada, adding that no one directly witnessed the theft.

The person of interest was described as Asian, 35 to 40 years old, 5 feet 4 inches to 5 feet 6 inches tall and 130 to 140 pounds. He also had straight black hair, brown eyes and a tan complexion, and was last seen wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans.

“Every theft is bad and unacceptable, but I think stealing from a center of worship is one of the worst things you can do,” Estrada said when asked for his thoughts on the case.”

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