Police are attempting to track down those responsible for stealing thousands of dollars in charitable donations from a house of worship in Berlin. The alleged theft occurred Friday afternoon at the Islamic Association of Greater Hartford, which is located on the Berlin Turnpike.
As the most spiritual month of the Muslim calendar, Ramadan is a time for fasting and a time for giving. But Dr. Reza Mansoor, president of the mosque said someone has decided to take from his place of worship.
“For somebody to break into it on one of the holiest months of fasting was shocking for us," said Mansoor.
Spiritual leaders and now Berlin police want to know who walked into the mosque on Friday, broke into a wooden collection box and left with thousands of dollars in cash and checks. Mosque officials said the majority of those dollars were charitable donations.
“Instantly, my heart was just broken and I wanted to help any way I could," said Laila Mehar, who has been a member of the Islamic Association of Greater Hartford for about fifteen years. Mehar is not confident that the estimated three thousand dollars stolen will be returned.
“That’s all I would hope, that that person becomes a changed person and doesn’t commit a deed like that again," said Mehar.
The mosque and police are currently searching through surveillance video in hopes of identifying those responsible for the thefts. Leaders said they were also reviewing their security measures and will be purchasing some new and stronger donation boxes.
Meanwhile, Mansoor said that police in Meriden were looking into the possibility of a similar crime at a similar time at a mosque in that community as well.
“In that month, you wouldn’t expect somebody stealing from the mosque," said Mansoor. "This is the month when people give the most.”
As of Tuesday evening, police had not made any arrests or identified and potential suspects.