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Long IslandCrime

Cops make arrest in church burglary, probe other theft

Nassau detectives were investigating thefts of money Monday from a collection box and two poor boxes at an Oceanside church.

Fourth Squad detectives said the facilities director at St. Anthony’s Church at 110 Anchor Ave. noticed two poor boxes at the church had been pried open and emptied of whatever cash was inside of them about 15 minutes after opening the church at about 7 a.m.

At about 3 p.m., a parishioner returned a collection box that was found in Silver Lake Park on Foxhurst Road in Baldwin. The facilities director recalled seeing that collection box at the church just two hours earlier, police said.

Also Monday, in an unrelated case, Suffolk police arrested a man who, they said, burglarized a Huntington church this past weekend.

Second Precinct officers responded to a 911 call of a disturbance at Huntington Hospital at about 9:15 a.m.

“When officers arrived, they found Jeffrey Nekola in possession of several religious items, including a wooden cross, a religious pendant, and a pyx, which is a small container used to carry the Eucharist,” police said in a release.

The officer contacted the Church of St. Patrick and discovered that the items were stolen between Feb. 10 and 13. Second Squad detectives arrested Nekola, 61, who is homeless, and he was charged with third-degree burglary and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property.

Nekola is scheduled to be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip Tuesday.

Detectives ask anyone with information to contact Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 800-244-TIPS. All callers will remain anonymous.

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