A homeless man allegedly broke into four houses of worship in New York during a three week period because he wanted to get revenge at God.
Joseph Woznik, 23, is accused of breaking into an Episcopal church, a Romanian Orthodox church, a Hindu temple, and a Roman Catholic church in Queens starting March 21, the Daily Mail reported.
“I’m mad at God. I don’t like church no more. I don’t want to deal with religion. I’m sick and tired of hearing about religion. I don’t break into houses, only churches. I break in to get back at God,” Woznik allegedly told police.
Woznik was arrested Tuesday and charged with multiple counts of burglary and grand larceny as hate crimes, the New York Post reported.
If convicted, Woznik faces up to 15 years behind bars, police said. Police also said Woznik was caught on two video cameras during the burglaries and confessed to his crimes.
Woznik is also wanted in a February 26 church burglary in Winter Garden, Florida, police said.
Rev. Paul Lai of the St. James Episcopal Church in Flushing, Queens, said his parish was struck three times, once on March 23, once on April 2, and again on Monday.
“He needs help,” Lai told the New York Daily News. “It’s hard to say why he has such hatred against God. … We don’t have anything here now.”
Woznik took $1,800 the first time, a Canon digital camera the second time, and three checks from the church’s checkbook on his third break-in, Lai said.
The first burglary was at the Bangladesh Hindu Mandir Temple in Flushing, where an employee of the temple, upon arriving at work on March 21, discovered three donation boxes forced open and cleaned out, officials said.
The suspect also allegedly targeted Blessed Virgin Mary Help of Christians Church on Monday, using a hammer to break into a donation box. Reportedly, he also took $20 that was beneath a statue of the Virgin Mary.
Police said he was finally caught on Tuesday, a day after allegedly stealing a gold-plated communion tray from St. Mary Romanian Orthodox Church in Elmhurst.
At his arraignment hearing in Queens Criminal Court Wednesday night, a judge ordered that Woznik be held on $200,000 bail, placed on suicide watch, and remanded to face similar charges in Florida.
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