Surveillance video shows Ramona church break-in

The thieves took safes, priceless items and cash

Police have released surveillance video of thieves breaking into a church in Ramona Monday.

The break-in occurred in broad daylight at St. Mary's in the Valley Episcopal Church, located at 1010 12th St. The video shows a man approach an office door and kick in a window.

"That right there, and you can see that he just squeezes himself in the window," said Reverend Gwynn Freund as she viewed the surveillance video Thursday.

It has been a heartbreaking week for the 120 members who worship here.

"We're seeing the whole spectrum of grief and emotion, anger and grief and confusion and fear,”  Freund said.

The thief can be seen loaded up a safe on a rolling chair. The suspect takes it to a parked truck, where another person loads it into a pickup truck. The thief then goes back for another smaller safe and carries it out.

Inside the safes were the Sunday offering, petty cash and blank checks.

At first glance it looks like a woman with bright red hair, but Freund believes it was a man in disguise.

"As he backs up that is certainly a masculine jaw," Freund said.

They also broke a window and went through file cabinets and closets in another building.  The thieves ransacked the sacristy and stole many sacred items used for communion, including engraved silver plates and chalices. They even took the communion wine.

"The plate that we use for communion, it was engraved in the memory of a former parishioner long, long deceased, dated 1946" Freund said.

That was the year the church first moved to Ramona.

The thieves also raided a supply room used to make quilts for people around the world. Three irons were stolen. The entire crime took only seven minutes.

Anyone with information on the case should call Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477. Crime Stoppers is offering an up to $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

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