In response to a recent wave of church break-ins, Boston police are sending officers to churches around the city to gather information and give security-related advice. Roxbury’s Mission Church, formally named the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, was broken into twice last month, and police think that the same suspect is also responsible for other thefts reported on November 22 and November 29.
A surveillance video released by police shows the most recent break-in. According to the Boston Globe, it captures a man forcing his way into a locked area of the church and leaving with a “gold object.”
St. Anthony Shrine, a Catholic church on Arch St. in Downtown Crossing, was broken into on November 17. There was damage to the property including a shattered window, but nothing of value was taken because, the executive director of the shrine thinks, the two donation boxes had been emptied earlier in the afternoon.
The person who is charged in connection with these church break-ins, or any one of the break-ins, will be facing some potentially severe punishments for burglary and other crimes. Here, it does not matter that the churches are not “dwellings” in the traditional sense (i.e. places where a person sleeps regularly)because Massachusetts has made statutory modifications to the definition of burglary and it includes breaking and entering into any building at any time with intent to commit a felony.
Even though nothing of value was taken from the St. Anthony Shrine, it doesn’t matter because a felony doesn’t have to be committed as long as it is proven that the defendant intended to commit a felony.
Burglary is punishable by up to 20 years if the defendant was not armed and didn’t make an assault. If you have been charged with burglary, call a defense lawyer right away.
The Boston Globe: St. Anthony Shrine damaged during break-in
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