Published April 14, 2017
A homeless man accused of burglarizing four houses of worship in Queens, N.Y., told officials he did it out of his hatred for God, prosecutors said.
Joseph Woznick, 23, allegedly told police during his arrest on Tuesday that he stole from the churches because he was "mad at God," according to the Queens District Attorney's office.
"I don’t like church no more. I don’t want to deal with religion," Woznick allegedly said. "I’m sick and tired of hearing about religion. I don’t break into houses, only churches. I break in to get back at God."
Woznik is accused of stealing from the Bangladesh Hindu Mandir Temple, Blessed Virgin Mary Help of Christians Church, St. Mary's Romanian Orthodox Church, and St. James' Episcopal Church between March and April, according to the district attorney's office.
He first targeted the Bangladesh Hindu Mandir on March 21, prosecutors said. An employee walked into the temple and found cash missing from three donation boxes.
Police matched the fingerprints on the boxes to Woznick, the district attorney's office said.
Woznick then allegedly burglarized St. James' Episcopal Church three times from March 24 to April 10, prosecutors said. A priest discovered about $1,800 cash, a Canon digital camera, and three checks stolen.
Police found two of the checks and a pawn shop receipt for the Canon camera in Woznick's backpack when he was arrested.
On April 10, Woznick allegedly burglarized two more churches in the area.
Members of the St. Mary’s Romanian Orthodox Church reported that a gold-plated drawer used for communion and the church’s corporate seal embosser were missing.
Woznick later was seen on surveillance video trying to pry open a donation box at the Blessed Virgin Mary Help of Christians. He admitted to police that he stole $20 from under the Virgin Mary statue at that church, prosecutors said.
Woznick was charged Wednesday on multiple counts, including burglary as a hate crime, grand larceny as a hate crime, criminal possession of stolen property, and criminal mischief.
He also was charged as a fugitive from justice for alleged burglary, grand theft, and criminal mischief in Florida, according to prosecutors.