CV NEWS FEED // This week the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston issued a warning about a man who is impersonating a priest and stealing from churches in the area.
The imposter, who calls himself “Father Martin,” reportedly stole cash from St. Thomas More Catholic Church in southwest Houston on October 27, though parishioners were only recently notified.
“In the case of our particular parish, a staff member encountered him and he claimed to be a visiting priest from a diocese in another state and was staying at the parish rectory for a few days, but he forgot his key, etc. He was provided access to the residence and a theft was committed,” Auxiliary Bishop and Chancellor Fr. Italo Dell’Oro, CRS, said in an October 30 memorandum:
It appears ‘Father Martin’ does some research on the internet before he visits a church so that he familiarizes himself with the names of the priests assigned to the parish and may mention their names in his attempt to gain access.
Authorities believe that the imposter has targeted several churches across the country. He has been sighted around the diocese of Dallas and has outstanding warrants from California and Pennsylvania, according to the memo.
Dell’Oro said that the archdiocese reported the theft to the Houston Police Department (HPD). He asks that if anyone sees “Fr. Martin,” they notify the police and the archdiocese immediately.
“While we always want our parish communities to be places of welcome, these types of incidents make it clear that we must also remain vigilant with regard to those who may wish to cause harm,” he added.
The Houston Police Department told CatholicVote that the case is currently an active investigation. The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston referred requests for comment to the HPD, saying “it is now a police matter.”