Sunday, September 9, 2012

Parishioners stop North Side church theft during morning mass - Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Police say two vigilant parishioners thwarted a man's attempt to steal a 90-year-old woman's purse during Mass at a North Side church this morning.

Pittsburgh police Sgt. Christina Davison said 31-year-old Eric Csurilla crept up the pews at the Most Holy Name Parish on Harpster Street as parishioners lined up for communion before swiping a change purse containing cash and change around 10 a.m.

Sgt. Davison said Mr. Csurilla attempted to flee the church, but he was tackled and restrained by two parishioners, Glenn Hubert and Steve McCauley, who is the chief of the Port Authority police force.

Father John Dinello, the church's pastor, had warned parishioners and ushers of attempted thefts and encouraged women to take their purses with them when accepting communion, Sgt. Davison said.

She said Mr. Csurilla, who is being held in the Allegheny County Jail on a theft charge, may have been involved in other thefts in the Troy Hill area and that police are investigating.

Annie Siebert: asiebert@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1613 or on Twitter @AnnieSiebert.

First published on September 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm

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