A Lakewood man is in the Ocean County Jail after being charged with stealing the money collected at a Sunday morning Mass at St. Mary’s of the Lake church.
Lamberto Fattori, 37, is facing a charge of theft by unlawful taking.
An usher at the church, located on Madison Avenue in Lakewood, called police and told an officer that a man had come in seeking monetary assistance due to a recent fire at his home. The usher told him that the church would be happy to help him and asked if he could wait until after the service concluded, police said in a statement.
A few minutes later, a bag containing the collection money was missing so church officials immediately contacted the police department. Officer Christopher DeBiase located the man, identified as Fattori, a short distance away as he tried to enter his vehicle. Approximately $1,500 belonging to the church was recovered, police said.
An investigation by Detective Craig Fink led to theft charges against Fattori, who is being held in lieu of $10,000 cash bail.