PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla.- A Port Charlotte man was arrested earlier today for allegedly taking funds, including checks, from St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church on Monday.
Detectives arrested Jack Joseph Cox, 32, of 22075 Hernando Avenue, on charges of Grand Theft at about 10:30 a.m. today. He will be held without bond.
On Monday, workers at St. Charles called the Sheriff’s Office 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 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.
Detective put out the information on the suspect to members of the Sheriff’s Office Road Patrol to try to identify the man and vehicle. At about 10:00 a.m. today 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 4:00 pm 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.