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Donations stolen from SWFL churches in nationwide theft ring


Donations stolen from SWFL churches in nationwide theft ring

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Cape Coral Police Department held a press conference Wednesday afternoon in Fort Myers to announce the results of a theft-ring bust.

Operation “Thou Shalt Not Steal” targeted the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars in church donations throughout the U.S.

Investigators say six suspects stole more than $740,000 from 600 churches and church schools nationwide, including hit dozens of them in Southwest Florida.

“They would spread the checks between themselves to be deposited into various bank accounts using ATMs,” said Shane Pollard with FDLE. “Once the money posted into the account, they withdrew the funds immediately in cash before the banks realized the checks were actually made payable to the churches and not the suspects.”

The suspects operated out of Orlando, but hit churches in Lee and Collier counties by stealing checks out of church mailboxes. One of the victims was Cape Coral’s Grace Church, where $7,000 was stolen..............


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