3 Stole Church Service Orthodox: Congregation Nabs Bandits In Collection Box Attempted Theft

Bradley Ryder

An Orthodox church in Vienna was the site of a brazen attempted robbery of a collection box. Police say three men were arrested and charged with trying to steal tithes during a service. Had it not been for the Orthodox congregation, the three drunken bandits would have stolen the church's money, this according to a KTVL news report.

Police in Austria were called to investigate an allegation that three intoxicated men were attempting to make off with money donated to the church by parishioners during an Orthodox service. Initially, three men entered the church and tried to steal the collection box at 9:00 p.m. Saturday night. However, a priest intervened and ushered them out of the church, according to witnesses.

However, about an hour later, the same three men returned. This time, the determined thieves made a beeline for the altar -- and no, they were not getting married.

There, they used force to open the box and retrieved about 90 euros (or the equivalent of $95.00). Reportedly, before departing, they divvied the stolen money up between the three of them. But when they were trying to flee the church, "enraged congregation" members attending the Russian Orthodox service prevented them from leaving until authorities arrived.

Police responded a short time later and arrested three men who took part in the caper. There were no reported injuries during the encounter. Sources say the arrested suspects were drunk at the time of the incident.

Another unrelated church theft reported previously by Inquisitr, involved a much larger sum of money -- and under different circumstances. In March of 2014, the largest American megachurch, founded by Pastor Joel Osteen, was the target of a substantial robbery. Reportedly, thieves broke into the Lakewood property in Houston, Texas, and stole $600,000 in checks and cash. The unknown suspects also made away with credit card information.

At the time, no arrests were made, but Osteen and officials were working with authorities in trying to determine who stole the items from the locked facility. However, the funds were "fully restored" by the church's insurance carriers.

In wake of the theft, the popular senior pastor took to Twitter and left a message, presumably indirectly addressing the thieves.

— Joel Osteen (@JoelOsteen) March 11, 2014

[Photo by Douglas McFadd/Getty Images]