PITTSFIELD — A city man has been accused of breaking into a church, prying open a pair of prayer boxes and stealing the cash inside.
Christopher Kimball, 25, got away with about $25 in cash, and caused about $2,400 damage to the two boxes, according to court documents.
Police were dispatched to St. Charles Church about 6:15 a.m. Monday for a report of vandalism.
Church staff said it appeared the thefts occurred sometime between Sunday afternoon and Monday morning.
Surveillance video from the church shows a man matching Kimball's description breaking into the boxes about 2:47 p.m. Sunday.
The Rev. Peter Gregory told police a man matching the suspect's description had been around the church over the last couple of Sundays and had been seen taking photos during Mass and a private baptism on June 12.
The man, later identified through a photo array as Kimball, had asked Gregory if there was any work available at the church and asked about food that had been set aside in the church's vestibule for the local food pantry.
During their investigation, police found one of the church's doors had been tampered with by someone who had apparently stuffed napkins into the locking mechanism, preventing it from closing properly.
Police believe Kimball returned to the church sometime after the conclusion of the baptism, went in through that door and broke into the prayer boxes.
Based on conversations with Kimball, Gregory said he believed he lived at the Barton's Crossing shelter on North Street.
Police were able to obtain Kimball's contact information from the shelter and he agreed to meet with an officer at the station. But before that meeting could happen, police spotted Kimball on North Street and placed him under arrest.
He allegedly was found wearing a large cross around his neck, which appeared to be one that was seen in the church's surveillance video.
Kimball pleaded not guilty in Central Berkshire District Court on Tuesday to charges of breaking into a depository, larceny from a building and daytime breaking and entering with the intent to commit a felony.
Judge William Rota released him on his own recognizance on the condition he stay away from the church. He was ordered to return for a pretrial hearing July 15.
Contact Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249.