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Drifter suspected in church larcenies

by Sean Carroll

Batavia, N.Y. -- A man described by law enforcement as a drifter who regularly travels between Syracuse and Ohio is now behind bars in Genesee County.

Stephen Quigley, 59, is facing a Petit Larceny charge after his arrest last week. The charge stems from alleged thefts from a collection box inside St. Josephs Church on Main Street in Batavia back in January 2012. Police say a witness familiar with Quigley and that crime spotted him in the city and contacted police.

Once in custody Quigley confessed to the crime and was cooperative with investigators.

(He) did admit that he travels regularly from one area to another and passes through Batavia on occasion and that he has on a number of occasions entered the churches and obtained cash that way, explained Detective Sgt. Pat Corona of the Batavia Police Department.

In 2009 Quigley, as reported on by The Batavian, was arrested by the LeRoy Police department after a church employee confronted him upon seeing him steal money from a locked canister for collections located near the prayer candles. Detective John Condidorio tells 13WHAM News that Quigley remained on the church grounds, was apprehended with the money on him, and later pled guilty to the petit larceny charge that was filed.

Quigley served ninety days in jail for that conviction.

Very similar circumstances unfolded in January 2012 at St. Josephs Church in Batavia when church employee Mary Barbeau said she confronted him stealing money in the same manner. She tells 13WHAM News that Quigley fled the church after she approached him. The church has since added additional metal plates over the slots where money is to be deposited to prevent that from happening again.

"I mean justice is being done yeah, but I do feel bad because he is a homeless person and honest I would've given anything to him, said Barbeau upon learning of Quigleys arrest.

Police consider Quigley to be homeless and know his transient nature has him passing through parts of Western New York on a semi-regular basis.

When asked if he is suspected of committing similar crimes at churches in this region Det. Corona responded, Oh I'm sure of it, in his travels that's what he's doing I'm sure there are other police agencies that have similar reports.

If Quigley were to read or see this report Barbeau would tell him, "I would say God Bless You and we hope that everything goes well for you, we would kindly help you in any way.

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Washington Times