CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. - A Port Charlotte man was arrested Wednesday for allegedly stealing cash and checks from St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Port Charlotte on Monday.
32-year-old Jack Cox of Port Charlotte was arrested on charges of Grand Theft at about 10:30am. He will be held without bond.
According to the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office, workers at St. Charles called the Sheriff’s Office on Monday to report that a man had taken the deposit that included the cash and checks from the collection taken at the church services Saturday. The man's movements through the church were captured on video.
At about 7:30 that morning a man described as wearing a sleeveless white and gray shirt, gray pants and sandals entered the church through an unlocked rear door. He told a worker he wanted to pray and went inside.
Once inside the church, he reportedly went to several different areas within the church before going into a room where the offering collection money was kept in a safe. When he left the room, he was carrying two bags that he wrapped in a yellow shawl. He exited the church through the rear door and drove away in an older white Ford Explorer.
Wednesday morning a deputy spotted a vehicle that matched the description of the suspect’s vehicle. The man driving it also matched the suspect’s description. They found that the driver, Cox, had a suspended driver’s license and stopped the Explorer.
While the deputies were issuing Cox a criminal traffic citation, detectives working the case responded to the area of the traffic stop and took him into custody for the theft.
Despite searching other locations, detectives did not locate or recover the stolen cash or checks. They would like to warn anyone who attended the 4:00pm mass on Saturday at St. Charles and made an offering donation by check to monitor their accounts as to whether that check clears the bank.
Anyone whose Saturday October 12 donation check clears the bank is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at (941) 639-2101, as they may be the victim of a check fraud.