Menu

CRIME

Ushers stop purse-snatching in Pittsburgh church

A man who claims to be a heroin addict has been jailed on charges he snatched a woman's purse while she was taking communion during Mass at a Pittsburgh church.

Pittsburgh police say parishioners, including the off-duty chief of the Port Authority of Allegheny County police, tackled 31-year-old Eric Csurilla on Sunday morning and held him until officers arrived.

The Rev. John Dinello, pastor of the Most Holy Name of Jesus Parish, says parishioners were told to be alert because of similar thefts in the city's Troy Hill neighborhood.

Police say Csurilla grabbed a small black change purse and covered it with a church bulletin about 10 a.m. Sunday but couldn't get away before he was tackled by the parishioners, including transit police chief Steve McCauley.

Online court records don't list an attorney for Csurilla.