Police search for man who robbed church

Composite sketch released

extra officers patrol near city parish

October 16, 2003|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

Police released yesterday a composite sketch of a man they believe robbed a priest and two workers at gunpoint of several thousand dollars in collection money and threatened to kill a secretary in the rectory of a Northeast Baltimore church Monday.

Edwin Day, the Baltimore Police Department's chief of police detectives, said yesterday that police were flooding the area near the Shrine of the Little Flower Catholic Church with extra officers, and detectives were trying to uncover more clues. He said he also assigned a squad of homicide detectives to help with the case.

"This particular kind of crime crosses the line," Day said. "It merits this type of response."

Police and the Rev. Michael Orchik have said that someone came to the door of the rectory of the Little Flower in the 2800 block of Brendan Ave. about 8:45 a.m. Monday and asked for information on how to donate clothes and on the church's school. When a secretary returned with a brochure on a clothing drive, the visitor pulled out a handgun.

He forced Orchik, the secretary and another employee to give him $400 of petty cash in a safe. The thief then demanded cash from Sunday's services, which is picked up by an armored car on Tuesdays, police said yesterday. Orchik opened another safe and turned over about $7,100 in cash and checks after the robber pointed a gun at the head of the secretary, threatening to kill her if Orchik did not give him more money, according to the priest and police.

Police said they do not believe the robbery was an inside job and think the thief might have watched the church and learned how employees handled collection money. Church officials, including Orchik, said they did not recognize the robber, police said.

"Pushing around a priest and threatening elderly ladies with guns, that is something that is not going to be accepted," said Day, who urged the robber to surrender. "People are very angry about what happened."

Police described the robber as a black male in his 30s or 40s, who wore glasses and is 5 foot 10, with a heavyset build.

Anyone with information is urged to call police at 410-396-2444.

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