Bronx Pastor Forgives Woman Busted For Stealing Cash From Church Donation Box

Published on February 09, 2017, 4:55 pm
FavoriteLoadingAdd to favorites 3 mins

Christa Polito has an angel on her shoulder.

Cops arrested the 30-year-old woman for stealing $300 from a donation box at a Bronx church, but the charges were dropped when the kind-hearted pastor declined to prosecute, officials said Thursday.

“I believe the Catholic Church is about forgiveness,” Father Stephen Norton, the pastor at St. Benedict’s Roman Catholic Church in Throggs Neck told the Daily News Thursday. “That’s my role as a priest. We hope this is a good lesson learned for her.”

Norton said if Polito was struggling, she could have come to the Otis Ave. church for help — rather than rifle through a donation box in the area of the house of worship where parishioners light candles for deceased loved ones.

“We don’t give out money out from the front of the church, but there are lots of ways we could have helped her if she had come to us and asked rather than take it on her own.”

Investigators arrested Polito, of Bronx, for the January 12, 2017 theft on Wednesday.

She was caught on surveillance video walking into St. Benedict’s and swiping cash from a donation box, cops said.

The crystal-clear security footage caught Polito as she pried open a locked donation box and made off with the cash around 4:30 p.m., cops said.

The unholy heist occurred under a framed photo of Mother Teresa and next to a statue of the Virgin Mary.

Police initially charged Polito with petty larceny, but the Bronx district attorney’s office declined to prosecute after Norton said he did not want to press charges, a DA spokeswoman said.

After pictures of Polito were distributed to the press last week, many parishioners came forward, telling Norton that they recognized the woman from the neighborhood, but did not know her name.

Norton said this was the first time that someone had stolen from St. Benedict’s.

“This was a one time… first time event for us,” he said.

However, it was not the first time the church had become a sanctuary for a thief.

In 2012, cops arrested parishioner Anita Collins, a longtime employee of the Archdiocese of New York, for embezzling more than $1 million from the Archdiocese.

At the time, Father Norton said he didn’t know Collins well, but was prepared to forgive her.

“These things are always difficult,” he said “But we’re a church of redemption.” 


Jonas Bronck is the pseudonym under which we publish and manage the content and operations of The Bronx Daily.™ | - the largest daily news publication in the borough of "the" Bronx with over 1.5 million annual readers. Publishing under the alias Jonas Bronck is our humble way of paying tribute to the person, whose name lives on in the name of our beloved borough.