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Long IslandCrime

Shirley man burglarized churches 6 times, police say

A Shirley man was arrested Wednesday and charged with the burglaries of cash and electronic items from three churches since February, police said.

The Suffolk County police Seventh Squad Special Operations Team and a Field Intelligence detective were doing surveillance in Shirley on Wednesday night as a result of the burglaries when they saw a man who had heroin, police said in a news release Thursday.

William Stepnowski, 40, was arrested at 10:05 p.m., police said. Additional investigation determined that Stepnowski had burglarized churches in Shirley and Bellport six times from Feb. 24 to Sunday, police said.

The amount of cash stolen was unknown, police said, and authorities did not have a breakdown of the items taken from each church.

The churches were St. John the Theologian Orthodox Church in Shirley, which was burglarized three times, Assembly of God Church in Shirley, which was burglarized twice, and Christ Episcopal Church in Bellport, police said.

Stepnowski was charged with six counts of third-degree burglary and one count of seventh-degree of criminal possession of a controlled substance, police said. The probation department also issued a warrant for his arrest.

Stepnowski was scheduled to be arraigned Friday in First District Court in Central Islip, police said. Attorney information was not available.

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