A career burglar nabbed for robbing a Pelham Bay church may not be so lucky the next time he tries it.
A local legislator’s bill to increase jail time for stealing from or damaging religious institutions recently passed in the state Senate.
A number of local religious institutions have been burglarized recently, including the Zoodohos Peghe Greek Orthodox Church on Bruckner Boulevard, January 7, with $50 taken and an intricate wood carving destroyed.
Detectives at the 45th Precinct scored a DNA hit off a burglary tool and arrested Floyd Debow, 51, of Co-op City on April 19. DeBow, with 21 prior arrests for burglary, drugs, and other charges, is currently free, awaiting trial.
Meanwhile, state Senator Jeff Klein’s legislation to stiffen criminal penalties for such crimes recently passed by a vote of 60-1 in the Senate. It’s now awaiting passage in the Assembly.
“An assault on a house of worship is an assault on our entire community,” said Klein, whose bill would increase penalties for various levels of theft or intentional damage to religious items, with penalties ranging up to 15 years in jail.
Klein noted there has been a disturbing pattern of break-ins and thefts in his district recently, also including Our Lady of Assumption Catholic Church in Waterbury-LaSalle, St. Theresa Catholic Church in Pelham Bay, and Temple Beth El Synagogue on City Island.
Police are urging anyone with information to contact the 45th Precinct detective squad at (718) 822-5414 or Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-8447.