St. Leonard Church in Boston’s North End was recently vandalized, the latest in a series of damaging incidents over the years to steal money from church candle boxes. The incident was reported to have occurred at approximately 9pm on March 22nd. The suspect was caught in the act by Fr. Antonio Nardoianni using a rigid wire to open the money box under the statue of Saint Lucy. The incident is believed to have been captured on church video with suspect running away.
Church officials and Boston Police have identified Richard Shiner as the suspect, a familiar face from past incidents. Shiner was arrested in 2013 and 2010 for similar church box thefts in the North End and across Boston. Fr. Antonio Nardoianni, ofm, pastor of Saint Leonard Parish said, “My serious concerns are not simply about the money that he steals but rather about the safety of the many worshippers and visitors who enter our church every hour of the day.”
The recent vandalism to the newly restored Saint Leonard Church on Hanover Street has resulted in damage to several pieces of furniture and religious items in the repeated attempts to steal. Several parishioners noted the suspect’s activities have continued on and off for several years.
Boston Police said they are following up on the latest incident and that a court hearing for Mr. Shiner will be scheduled in the immediate future.
All suspects are innocent until proven guilty.