Pittsfield man denies stealing from city church

Wednesday October 10, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- A 52-year-old man who allegedly was caught on video stealing from a local church pleaded not guilty to felony burglary charges on Tuesday in Central Berkshire District Court.

Robert Serowik, of Curtis Street, is charged with breaking and entering in the daytime for a felony, possession of burglary tools, and larceny from a building for an alleged Sept. 30 burglary at the St. Charles Borromeo Roman Catholic Church on Briggs Avenue.

The pastor, the Rev. Peter A. Gregory, told police that for several weeks he had been noticing money missing from the collection boxes at the church and decided to install a security camera.

A video taken at 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 30 purports to show Serowik enter the church and steal money from a collection box. Pittsfield Police said they positively identified Serowik as the culprit based on the footage as well as the description of his car, which was seen at the church by a witness on that date and time.

On Monday, Pittsfield Police were called to the church, where they found Serowik's wife and children waiting outside the church in the car earlier identified by the witness. The woman allegedly told police that she was waiting for her husband, who was "getting food from a friend."

Moments later, police located Serowik as he "walked out from the Richmond Avenue side of the church" with a pry bar in his pocket, according to a police report.

Serowik denied any wrongdoing, allegedly telling police that he had gone to the church to pick up a program for Bingo. According to the police report, Serowik didn't have a program and there was no Bingo game at the church that day.

The report states that Serowik also told the police that he was looking for a truck he was told had side-swiped his car.

Serowik was arrested and held overnight for arraignment.

The sum of money that had gone missing from the church was not indicated in police records.

In court on Tuesday, the Berkshire District Attorney's Office did not ask for bail in the case and Judge Fredric D. Rutberg released the defendant on personal recognizance.

Serowik, who is being represented by attorney Michelle Mechta, is scheduled to be back in court Nov. 13.

To reach Andrew Amelinckx:
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On Twitter: @BE_TheAmelinckx


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