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Easter collections stolen from 2 churches

April 2, 2013 at 11:19 AM

SHELBY, Mich., April 2 (UPI) -- Burglars stole Easter collections from two churches in the Detroit area, making off with around $50,000 in one haul, police said.

Investigators say the break-ins at St. Therese of Lisieux Catholic Church in Shelby and St. Luke Lutheran Church in Clinton may be the work of the same group, the Detroit Free Press reported. Both churches are in Macomb County, north of the city.

"We're looking at probably a professional crew," Shelby Police Chief Roland Woelkers said Monday.

At St. Therese, the burglars used specialized tools to gain entry to a "safe room," the chief said. They got away with more than $40,000 and two chalices valued at between $5,000 and $10,0000.

At St. Luke, the theft netted an unknown amount of cash. The thieves struck after the Easter services, when churches generally have large congregations.

St. Therese did not have a burglar alarm. At St. Luke, the alarm system failed to alert anyone and the theft was discovered Monday morning by a member of the maintenance crew.

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