Man Steals Cash Box, Laptop From North Branford Church: Police

Police arrested an East Haven man accused of stealing from North Branford church and he is suspected of ties to other church larcenies.

Francis Casner Jr. is facing larceny charges and is suspected of stealing a laptop and metal cash box from Saint Augustine Church in February. The church is located at 30 Caputo Road in Branford.

Police responded to the church at about 10:26 a.m. on Tuesday after a church employee called 911 to report suspicious activity. A man was seen walking around in the church and then exiting the back parking lot, the caller told police. The church employee recognized him as a man suspected of stealing from the church who police were trying to identify.

The caller said she had reported the theft to police in February and provided police with a description of the man and surveillance video that captured him on camera, police said.

Police identified the man as Casner and he was operating a brown 1999 Chevy S-10 pickup. They found bulletins from area churches on his passenger seat, including Saint Bridget in Cheshire, Saint Mark in Westbrook, Saint Margaret Church in Madison, Saint Rita Church in Hamden and Saint Theresa Church in Trumbull.

Casner admitted to police that he was involved in the Saint Augustine Church larcenies.

Police found a cash box in his truck that belonged to the church, a wooden box with "Box Offering" written on it, a purse stolen from Saint George's Church in Guilford on April 1, Fairfield University car keys stolen from the Jesuit Community Center on the college's campus and an envelope containing donation checks written to other southern Connecticut churches.

Police charged Casner with three counts of sixth-degree larceny and one count of fifth-degree larceny. He is scheduled to appear in New Haven Superior Court on April 22.

He is also suspected in other church larcenies under investigation.

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