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  1. ITV Report

Thief wrote diaries detailing string of thefts from church donation boxes

One of the churches targeted by Stefan Bodnarczuk. Photo: ITV News Anglia.

Police in Northamptonshire have revealed how the arrest of a man seen acting suspiciously at a church led to the discovery of an elaborate string of thefts targeting places of worship.

Stefan Bodnarczuk, 55, has now been jailed for 20 months for stealing tens of thousands of pounds from church donation boxes across three counties.

Stefan Bodnarczuk. Credit: Northamptonshire Police

He was arrested at Fotheringhay church in May 2013 after a member of the public spoke to police about a man seen acting strangely.

Detectives from the Northamptonshire force’s financial crime team then conducted an investigation which led to the discovery of home-made tools used to lift coins from the donation boxes, and detailed diaries about each of his crimes listing everything from the name of the church and date of the theft to the amount of petrol he filled his car with.

Over six years, he stole more than £37,000 from churches in Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire and West Yorkshire.

“Bodnarczuk was methodical – the offences were carefully planned and systematic and may well have gone undetected had officers not made this arrest.

"Those in our communities can have confidence that we take rural crime extremely seriously and will always be proactive when we receive information from members of the public.”

– Supt Andy Cox, Northamptonshire Police.

Stuart Leithes reports.