Over $30,000 in gift cards missing from Imperial church

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, MO (KTVI) - A Jefferson County parish is reeling after more than $31,000 worth of gift cards were stolen from a locked cabinet inside St. John Catholic Church.

As business manager of St. John Catholic Church, Retta Nahlik gets to work at 5:30 every morning. This past Thursday, she discovered one of her desk drawers ripped out, and the locks broken on several others.

She had a hunch that whoever broke into her drawers was looking for keys to a certain cabinet: keys she didn’t have. Sure enough, when she walked into the office where this locked cabinet stood, she saw that the cabinet had been pried open, and pulled away from the wall.

In total, nearly 900 gift cards were stolen from this cabinet, worth more than $31,000 altogether. “We try to help people, we don’t try to hurt people here. So it’s just really sad,” laments Nahlik.

Nahlik says the gift cards raise money to help the church with its various expenses. She explains, “It’s a fundraising activity for our parish. We buy them from the vendor, such as Dierbergs and Shop ‘n Save, at a discounted rate, and then we sell them to our parishioners at the card face value.”

It wasn’t just the gift cards that were missing. Two hundred dollars in donations were stolen from the church’s poor box, right above the holy water. “They just ripped that top right off of there. The lock and everything. Reached in, took all the envelopes out, emptied them, and threw them on the floor,” says Nahlik.

Captain Ron Arnhart, with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, says there are no suspects at this point, and no signs of forced entry to the building. Arnhart says, “We’re still in the early stages of the investigation, but we’re asking that the public, or anyone at the church, has any information, to by all means, give us a call.”

Parishioners are hoping that the tracking numbers on the stolen gift cards will help catch the thief. Nahlik says some of the cards have already been tracked to several Dierbergs locations on Manchester.