A 60-year-old church usher was allegedly filmed pinching money from offering baskets while the congregation bowed their heads in prayer.
Deputies set up a surveillance camera in the Blessed Trinity Catholic Church in Ocala, Florida after officials told them they believed someone might be stealing cash.
Footage taken during the Novemeber 8 mass appears to show a man, identified by authorities as Mario Condis, grabbing fists of money from baskets before shoving it in his pockets.
CHURCH USHER ARRESTED FOR STEALING MONEY FROM OFFERING PLATES
CHURCH USHER ARRESTED FOR STEALING MONEY FROM OFFERING PLATESMarion County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) deputies received a call for service from officials at Blessed Trinity Catholic Church in reference to suspicions that one of their volunteer ushers was stealing from the church's offering baskets. MCSO Property Crimes detectives placed video surveillance in the church, which caught volunteer usher Mario Condis (W/M, 05/05/1955) stealing money from the offering baskets and shoving it in his pockets while the congregation had their eyes closed and heads bowed while praying. Video surveillance was set up in several services and Condis was observed committing these same actions during each mass.On Sunday, November 8th, MCSO detectives staged themselves around the church to watch Condis during the Spanish mass. During the prayer, Condis was observed by detectives and on surveillance video stealing money from the offering baskets and placing the money in his pockets. When Condis approached the church altar, detectives made contact with him, escorted him out of the church and took him into custody.Detectives recovered a total of $349.05 from Condis's pockets. When asked about where he got the money, Condis denied his involvement in the theft and claimed the money to be his. When detectives questioned him further, Condis said that he was in the process of putting the money back at the altar before detectives took him into custody.Condis was arrested and charged with one count of grand theft and three counts of petit theft. He posted his $3,500 bond Sunday evening and was released from the Marion County Jail.Posted by Marion County Sheriff's Office on Monday, 9 November 2015
The sheriff's office said the theft took place "while the congregation had their eyes closed and heads bowed while praying." They added that Condis was seen carrying out similar thefts during multiple services.
Following the November 8 incident, cops allegedly recovered $329 from Condis' pockets, but he denied taking the money.
"When asked about where he got the money, Condis denied his involvement in the theft and claimed the money to be his," the sheriff's office said. "When detectives questioned him further, Condis said that he was in the process of putting the money back at the altar before detectives took him into custody."
Condis was arrested and charged with one count of grand theft and three counts of petit theft.
He has since posted $3,500 bond and was released from the Marion County Jail.