A churchgoer broke into a choir room and stole from musicians as they took part in a Sunday service.
The rector of All Saints’ Church in Northampton said mobile phones, bank cards, cash and a laptop were taken, causing “no small amount of distress.”
A Facebook post showed a CCTV image of the man, who is said to have forced a locked door, shortly after he “accepted a hymnbook and a warm welcome.”
A nine-year-old choirgirl was among five people to have belongings taken.
Northamptonshire Police said it was investigating the theft, which happened at the church in George Row just after 10:30 BSTon Sunday.
Father Oliver Coss said: “The man, who moments before had been sitting among the assembled congregation in the nave, having accepted a hymnbook and a warm welcome, ascended the steps, forced the locked door to the choir room and set about thieving from our musicians.
“We have a commitment to being an open church and do not shut our doors simply because of incidents like this.
“Our general experience is, in any case, that locked doors do not deter the determined and desperate criminal.”
He added repairs were being carried out and all stolen belongings would be replaced.
In May, a chalice donated to a church by a mother and father in memory of their son who was killed in World War One was stolen from the church ahead of a service.
First published 30.09.19: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-northamptonshire-49878597
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