Priest chases thief, recovers church money

Published 10:48 am Monday, December 8, 2008

WASHINGTON — Call it Godspeed.

A Washington priest went sprinting through the streets, just before Mass, to recover collection money that a thief swiped from the church safe.

“I said, ‘Hey, I’m going to go catch a thief,'” the Rev. Bill Hegedusich told startled congregants at St. Peter’s church on Capitol Hill as he bounded through the church door Sunday morning.

Hegedusich said the man had taken two bags of money, totaling about $125, from an unlocked safe.

The 48-year-old marathon runner, clad in his black shirt and white clerical collar, said he chased the man for about two blocks and yelled at him to return the money. The man threw one bag on the ground and kept running.

Hegedusich returned with the single bag. He estimated that he recovered about $60.

No arrests have been made.

The priest called it “disheartening” that someone made off with offerings for the poor.

“It’s not my typical Sunday morning, I’ll tell you that,” added Hegedusich, who celebrated the 11 a.m. Mass a few minutes late.