St. Therese of Lisieux Catholic Church was overflowing during six Easter Sunday masses. Thieves apparently figured the Shelby Township church's collection plat was, too.
The crooks entered the church overnight through a glass door. They then pried open three more doors.
"People just don't expect this to happen in a church," said Linda Maccerone, the church administrative manager.
Maccerone said the thieves disturbed only one room in the office area. It contained a vault which held all the Easter collections.
"The police think they used some type of grinding, drilling type tool to get into it. We had six collections in there from our six masses. There were six plastic bags of our Sunday collections, checks and cash. We believe it to be probably around $40,000," she said.
The cash portion was about $6,500. They also took at least one chalice and rice bowls. Children have been filling the bowls with coins during Lent to help poor children in other countries.
Church break-in may be related to another in Clinton Township
The break-in at St. Therese of Lisieux is believed to be related to an overnight burglary at St. Luke Lutheran Church in Clinton Township. Thieves disabled the security system at St. Luke's and cut into the vault.
The lost money is insured but some parishioners were at the church Monday to make another Easter donation.