July 22nd, 2010
10:28 AM ET

Police: Crucifix used to pry open poor box

CNN's Kelly Marshall reports on this bizarre burglary in Florida:

A man was charged with burglary Wednesday after police said he broke into a Fort Lauderdale, Florida, church with an unusual tool - a crucifix.

George Horn allegedly broke into the St. John the Baptist Catholic Church on the night of June 26. Fort Lauderdale police say the 48-year-old suspect broke a window to enter the church, took a crucifix from the church’s altar and then used it to pry open a donation box.

The suspect, who was caught on surveillance video, cut himself at some point, leaving a large amount of blood behind, police said. (A photo from the surveillance video is above.)

It is not known how much money was in the box. Horn is in custody.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Church

soundoff (159 Responses)
  1. Dan The Man

    About time the cross was used for something useful. It is a shame that poor people have to break into church
    to get help. Imagine how much money the church would have if they didn't waste it defending preist.

    July 22, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
    • dalis

      Nothing in the article indicates this man was poor. Is this how you assume poor people behave?

      July 22, 2010 at 5:37 pm |
  2. Christian

    Clearly a cry for help!

    July 22, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
  3. Bill

    Well sounds like Mike has his head screwed on straight- finally someone!

    July 22, 2010 at 4:54 pm |
    • independent

      Whether these contributors demonstrate a primal screaming or a stoic fatalism, their vocal prostleizing of nothingness, vehemently, demonstrates that they seek disproof. If that were not the case, they would be content to suffer their emptiness silently. These comments condemning creation as nothing are a desperate stab at God or the wide world, hoping subconsciously to provoke a response that disproves their fears.

      July 22, 2010 at 5:07 pm |
  4. Shades of Gray

    I find that the most judgemental people are in fact athiests. They are also always the first to defend those that are blatantly doing something wrong and the first to judge those who are trying to do something good. Having myself, worked in the inner city with the poor, they are not the ones that would do something this foolish. They know the organizations (and yes, they are usually churches, synagogues, mosques, etc) who can provide help. Usually drug addicts are the one that exhibit this type of behavior to score easy money for their next fix....my former homeless friends can attest to this.

    July 22, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
    • Brandon

      You have to be kidding? I have been raised around conservative "Christians" all my life and they, by far, are the most hipocritical and judmental people I have ever known. 90% of them are closet racists, homophobs and classist. Just look at the Republican party....their moto should be "if you aint white, you aint right". And this is coming from a man born and raised in good old Texas. YeeeHaaaw

      July 22, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  5. Mike


    ....only if there was a hell...that's made up too just like ALL religions.

    Religion is for uneducated people who still think like cavemen...if you follow religion then you MUST believe that the Easter bunny Santa clause and the tooth fairy are REAL...there is NO DIFFERENCE!!! FACT!!!

    July 22, 2010 at 4:51 pm |
    • Peter F

      I love what people call "fact" these days, lol. Oh, and thanks for all your evidence... wait a second

      July 22, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
    • Jim

      Even without referring to religious writings, there is a far stronger philosophic and logical argument in favor of God than against Him.

      July 22, 2010 at 7:54 pm |
  6. Nick

    Those who have crosses, are the same who use forces (to open the poor box with).

    July 22, 2010 at 4:50 pm |
  7. Chris

    He took the money from the church because lets be honest, people who donate money to an organizational religion should have their money stolen regardless. Religion is false. Truth is within yourself.

    July 22, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
    • Jim

      If truth is within oneself, then each person has his/her own truth. As soon as one person's truth contradicts another's then one of these "truths" must be false, as truth cannot contradict truth. At this point, your thesis is proven false. Truth, because it cannot be contradicted, must by force be objective; it cannot be subjective, within and determined by the individual.

      You may disagree with the religions and the religious on where the source of objective truth lies, but the theory that truth is subjective or comes from within the individual cannot stand even the most simple logical tests.

      July 22, 2010 at 7:52 pm |
    • DanW

      @Jim. Thanks. So true.

      July 22, 2010 at 8:43 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      So truth is in you? Is that the religion where you worship yourself? It appears that ‘thou shalt not steal’ is not one of your commandments.

      July 23, 2010 at 12:29 pm |
  8. Bill

    You are all forgetting one minor detail- THERE IS NO GOD!

    July 22, 2010 at 4:46 pm |
    • Silentdude

      Really Bill... I believe there is a GOD, When I die I know where I am going, you die and you have no clue where you are going, Worse for you if there is a GOD and realize you made a big blunder all your life.

      July 22, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
    • Mantra

      Do you know where you're going? You seem as sure of yourself as though you read the travel guide to heaven.

      July 22, 2010 at 6:07 pm |
  9. Simple Jack

    lol imagine that: the cross being used to pillage. That's never happened before

    July 22, 2010 at 4:45 pm |
    • independent

      Empty drums make the most noise. Such emptiness suggests hollowness, not so much in character or intelligence, but in loneliness. While you are looking for something with which to fill your drum – to reduce your emptiness and loneliness – consider that provocative acts (such as some of the comments above) are just desperate ways to transfer meaning to oneself, where one sees none, suspects internally that there is some, but is confused concerning how to perceive it.

      I wish you well in your search, and long suffering for those whom you seek to provoke.

      July 22, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
    • Simple Jack

      Do you write fortune cookies for a living? Might want to look into it

      July 22, 2010 at 4:51 pm |
    • Monsoon

      Hey confucius are you saying simple jack is wrong?

      July 22, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  10. Skeptic

    My favorite part is that the church has a security camera on the donation box. If god is always watching why do they need surveillance? Don't they trust their parishioners? NOT tongue in cheek...

    July 22, 2010 at 4:41 pm |
    • Noble9

      I was thinking the same thing. Very funny that they've got surveillance cams in the church.

      July 22, 2010 at 9:54 pm |
    • Russ

      Maybe the jail'll give him enough money to buy a proper crowbar when he gets out.

      August 3, 2010 at 3:05 pm |
  11. independent

    Empty drums make the most noise. Such emptiness suggests hollowness, not so much in character or intelligence, but in loneliness. While you are looking for something with which to fill your drum – to reduce your emptiness and loneliness – consider that provocative acts (such as some of the comments above) are just desperate ways to transfer meaning to oneself, where one sees none, suspects internally that there is some, but is confused concerning how to perceive it.

    I wish you well in your search, and long suffering for those whom you seek to provoke.

    July 22, 2010 at 4:36 pm |
  12. relians

    hey, at least this is a more ethical use of the object than it's normal use. definitely more practical.

    July 22, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
    • dalis

      What are you saying is its "normal use"?

      July 22, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
  13. Mike

    He prayed and nothing happened... He's just trying to get his money back!

    July 22, 2010 at 4:28 pm |
  14. phillyboy


    July 22, 2010 at 3:32 pm |
    • jcanuck

      maybe move out of Philly...

      July 22, 2010 at 4:33 pm |
    • AngelFyr14

      Birds of a feather, flock together, I guess!

      July 22, 2010 at 4:34 pm |
    • commoncents

      Stop going to church and you will be!

      July 22, 2010 at 4:37 pm |
  15. SwissGuard

    Ha, you've run out of pertinant things to say, so you introduce a red herring. Sorry, i'm boning up on how to argue; i could'nt resist.

    July 22, 2010 at 1:23 pm |
  16. TheRationale

    Though shalt not steal

    ...only applies to baseball

    July 22, 2010 at 1:08 pm |
  17. Joseph MA

    Bunch of people using opportunity to bash the church through pointless comments ... and without facts as usual.

    July 22, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
    • nachooooo libre

      lighten up francis

      July 22, 2010 at 12:42 pm |
    • Cambric

      Agree with Joseph MA...let's 'jump on the band wagon' to rip on the Church/God/preachers/priests/(add on here) that has to do with religion.

      July 22, 2010 at 12:50 pm |
    • omgamike

      If the Church is so concerned with the plight of the poor and needy, then why doesn't the Church sell off all of their land and buildings and all of their great works of art - and use that money to help those in need? St. Thomas says you don't need a church, or even an organized religion, to speak with God - and you certainly don't need priests to do it.

      July 22, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
    • dalis

      Well, they were trying to collect for the poor, but then a burglar tried to steal the money out of the poor fund. Blame him.

      July 22, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
    • David Johnson

      The Catholic Church are guilty of many horrible things. I love to bash them. I feel Jesus cheering me on.

      July 22, 2010 at 7:42 pm |
  18. peace2all

    Well, it is possible he was poor.... Or, he is an addict...or both or neither..... I definitely feel for him that he felt the need to do that. I hope that he gets his life together.....

    To me, the irony is using a crucifix to break open the donation box and leaving a trail of blood. It seems that the crucifixion thing, is still blood-letting today..

    Tongue in cheek of course....

    July 22, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
    • David Johnson


      You said, "Agree with Joseph MA...let's 'jump on the band wagon' to rip on the Church/God/preachers/priests/(add on here) that has to do with religion."

      Works for me. Religion poisons everything.

      July 22, 2010 at 7:38 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      I'm betting on drug addict. Typical addict behavior.
      Most likely, he cut himself on the window he broke to get into the church.
      What *I* find interesting is that a church felt the need to have a hidden camera watching the collection box.

      July 22, 2010 at 8:00 pm |
  19. cat

    Only bothering fact is that the focus isn't stealing, but what he used to open the box with. What, is it supposed to be offensive that he 'dare use such a sacred symbol' or something? Churches have too much money and do way too little to help people in need. Oh sorry, they 'help those in need' as long as it doesn't require financial aid; it's all mental help. Who ever thought that telling people they don't need money because they have a cloud-stalker of a god would actually work? I swear.

    July 22, 2010 at 12:15 pm |
    • David Johnson

      As I witness to people, I have noticed hungry, desperate people listen to me better than the well nourished.

      The lord has said to my heart, "Hold thy bible in thy left hand and a hamburger in thy right and preach the gospel to the miserable."

      The poor enjoy seeing the wealth of the church and evangelists. It reminds them of the abundance they will have in heaven...If they obey and are saved.

      July 22, 2010 at 12:30 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Who do you swear to, Cat? The almighty dog?
      Years ago, I and my family needed financial aid. A baptist church helped. It wasn't much, but it got food on the table for the week.
      So, try learning the FACTS before you bash.

      July 22, 2010 at 7:58 pm |
  20. Daniel

    Well, ten to one says he was in fact poor.

    Where does that donation money go from that particular church, anyway? Why does one of the wealthiest organizations in the world hoard its wealth rather than use it to eliminate world hunger or poverty?

    July 22, 2010 at 11:21 am |
    • Luke

      Because they have to have a stockpile to pay for potential lawsuits. No...really. Wish I was kidding.

      July 22, 2010 at 11:24 am |
    • SwissGuard

      That's not true. As a Roman Catholic, let me inform you that Catholic churches run many charities; at my own parish, for example, money is contributed for the Black poor, the American Indian poor, low income housing for people who cant afford their own house (the human habitat project); not to mention special charities around the holidays to be gifts for the less fortunate; AND some of the parish alter servers run a charity drive every year. Dont you dare call us skinflints!

      July 22, 2010 at 1:19 pm |
    • Peter F

      Face it, Swss. 99% of the cynics on here post uneducated responses. Don't feel obligated to lash out at them when their arguments are pitiful anyway.

      July 22, 2010 at 3:11 pm |
    • Christopher

      Its in the business of selling hope. Like any company that has no real product you get no real service.

      July 22, 2010 at 3:46 pm |
    • Matt B.

      Well, if you ever read anything you would know that the Catholic Church is indeed the world's largest charitable organization and 100% of the money is used to maintain a wide range of Catholic services.

      July 22, 2010 at 4:56 pm |
    • wakeup

      The Christian Taliban only donate or aid u if u take a version of their Koran into your hands. U think sally struthers was just eating all that food in front of those poor africans? she had piles of korans to hand out with the food.

      July 22, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
    • dalis

      If the burglar was actually poor, all he'd have to do is approach the church or any of the myriad social services they fund. His motives were the same as other burglars. He was an unscrupulous opportunist looking for quick money for drugs or gambling or to pay someone off.

      And if you want to know where the money goes, I encourage you to do your own research, Daniel.

      July 22, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
    • jesus

      Money that was to be used to pay the salaries of pedophile priests was taken by this ne'er do well. He must have been a victim and was merely exercising self help.

      July 22, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Peter F

      You said, "Face it, Swss. 99% of the cynics on here post uneducated responses. Don't feel obligated to lash out at them when their arguments are pitiful anyway."

      WoW! Let's here some of your arguments. I think I can stay up with you, if you type real slow and don't use big words.

      July 22, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
    • Truthfulness

      The Catholics charge the government for poorness programs. So seems to me the donations do not pay for the poor.

      July 22, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
    • Tina

      Catholics have been feeding the hungry and caring for the poor since Jesus. Do your homework before you bash a religion.

      July 22, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
    • PGelsman

      And of course they send a lot of the $$$ collected up to Rome where the Pope and the cardinals live in opulance while the poor masses have to sweat it out. The Catholic church is the richest organization in the world.

      July 22, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
    • The_Mick

      At my church, It goes for on-going missions to towns still reeling from Katrina and goes for food baskets for locals out of work, etc. I woudn't be surprised to learn that some it gets skimmed off by the Archdiocese of Baltimore, but I don't think they're shipping any significant amount off to Rome. I'm sure no money came in the other direction. Supposedly the Archbishop of Baltimore called the Pope and said, "Jesus is out on the street walking right for our offices. What should I do?" The Pope replied, "Look busy."

      July 22, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
    • Burbank

      Ten to one says he was a drug addict going for a few quarters for his next hit. The Vatican doesn't open it's golden coffers to feed the poor it causes to be born because this organization full of pedophiles is too busy telling people they can't use birth control or have abortions. They NEVER EVER say it's a sin to produce children you can't afford to feed and raise in a reasonable manner until age 18 or so. When you think about it , having children you can't afford is a form of child abuse, but then the world has seen what the Vatican thinks about abused children.... They don't care they just want more and more Catholics born so they can tithe their 10% no matter how poor they are and how pitiful that amount is. – 'Nuff said. Spoken by an EX Catholic.

      July 22, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
    • Burbank

      I'm sure that money doesn't go anywhere except straight to the Vatican and to buy more candles. They don't exactly issue reports on where and how your money is used when you are suckered into giving it to them.

      July 22, 2010 at 6:42 pm |
    • DevoutCatholicGuy

      The Catholic Church is one of the largest charity organizations in the world. When hurricane Katrina happened, it was the Catholic charities that stayed the longest to help out the people in need. The money collected in local churches is used to pay for church mission trips to help poor people. Yes, some of the money is used to pay for maintenance of a Catholic church for electric and water bills. I hope this clears some misinformation up.

      In Christ,


      July 22, 2010 at 7:12 pm |
    • Glenn

      Probably the donation box was just a holding box for the donations from the afternoon/overnight and would be deposited to the Church's bank account for distribution to the needy the next day?

      July 22, 2010 at 7:16 pm |
    • Jim

      Contrary to many of the responses here, virtually none of the money collected by the Church goes to the Vatican. The Vatican actually has almost nothing to say about the day-to-day operations of Dioceses or parishes; the primary role of the Vatican is doctrinal, not operational.

      In most parishes, the poor box is dedicated to a specific mission, such as a food bank or the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and does not ever enter the general funds of the parish.

      The local parishes and the Dioceses are organized as non-profit organizations and as such are required under IRS code to use the overwhelming majority of funds collected for their non-profit missions. They have to file tax returns to show that they indeed do so.

      July 22, 2010 at 7:42 pm |
    • Drew Miller

      I'll be honest. I used to think Catholic Charities was an oxymoron; however, I've come to realize they do actually do a great deal of good and they have for some time. I am not Catholic and I do not have the greatest respect for the organization. I have begrudgingly had to accept the fact that the church does still do a great deal of good. They could do more, mind you, but they do do a great deal of good. To me it is similar to Islam. There are some factions that behave in a way that is outrageous but the majority are solemn religious practitioners.

      July 22, 2010 at 10:37 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.