It is supposed to be the season for giving, but someone or some persons have turned it into the season for taking, after the presbytery (the house of a Roman Catholic parish priest) in Kingstown, St Vincent, was broken into and several items stolen.
In an interview with Loop News Caribbean, Father Allando Williams, Administrator of the Cathedral in Kingstown said the presbytery suffered two break-ins, two nights in a row.
Father Williams said last Friday he was at a parishioner’s house for a get-together. When he arrived home after 12 o’clock and opened the front gate of the presbytery, he heard noises coming from inside but thought it was another priest, who had just arrived home as well. When he got into the house, he found cupboards opened and items scattered on the ground.
A key cabinet was found wide open with some of the keys missing and it was discovered attempts were made to try and break into an office.
Upstairs he found his bedroom door open and his lights on. His room was ransacked. There were clothes on the ground, shoes on the bed and his iPad missing. An iron was also stolen, while a fridge in his room which had orchard juices was totally emptied. From the main kitchen, he says there was a big box with carnation milk – the cover was found at the top of the stairs and the box with half of the milk was downstairs on a filing cabinet.
When the police arrived, it was discovered a window in one of the bedrooms facing the roadside was open. It is unclear whether it was used to enter or exit the house.
Then last Saturday night, Father Williams went to sleep not expecting anything to happen again. However, when they woke up for Sunday mass, the person who comes to sanitise the bathrooms, when she opened the doors of the presbytery to get in, noticed that a bag of beans which they give to the poor was all over the ground, and the sack it came in was missing.
She alerted the cook who came in and realised that an office was ransacked. Upstairs a television was missing. A big stained-glass window at a steps leading up into the house was found with a frame broken off and is believed to be the way the perpetrator (s) entered the house on Saturday night.
Father Williams explained that they try not to bank foreign currency just in case people are travelling—this was taken from the office as well as a computer used to keep their accounts.
He said the authorities are on the lookout to see if anyone attempts to sell any of these items.
“On Sunday morning when I saw all that happened, my mother lives in Barataria (Trinidad) and so I said to myself I need to call my mother and tell my mother I am coming home,” he chuckled. The Roman Catholic priest said his privacy feels violated and described the incident as shocking.
“You don’t expect that to happen to you. You do all you can to secure your property but people get in anyway.”
Asked what he would say to the person (s) who took the items, Father Williams said he just wants the items returned as well as had this message:
“There are many ways we have been helping the poor and all the people who come to us. It is not as though we don’t deal with the poor. There are many ways we try to help out those who come to us for assistance. All of that they should take into mind. Because when they steal from us, that is the money we are supposed to use to help the poor.”
Following these two incidents, Father Williams is encouraging people to stay safe and guard their properties during this time.
He said: “There are a lot of people going through bad financial crises but stealing is not the way to go because then you are depriving somebody else of something they worked hard to gather.
Some people would have taken three or so years to pay maybe for a tv or something and just to have it stolen, their hard work go down the drain like that and to have to do it all over again, that is difficult for people, nobody should ever have to go through that.”