Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Parish Detective Works a Cold Case of Larceny

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Parish Detective Works a Cold Case of Larceny

Article excerpt

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Tim Welch, a retired federal law enforcement agent and the honorary detective at St. Ignatius Parish in Portland, is working on a cold case.

The case materialized when Welch was in the quiet church one day helping convert an unused confessional into an alcove for prayer.

When he began pulling out the old dropped ceiling, papers began to flutter down onto his head. They were collection envelopes, but they were empty. The date: Nov. 16, 1956.

Welch searched in the ceiling some more and found an entire collection basket, long handle and all. Those parishioners of the past had put their dimes and quarters in the envelopes and requested prayers for dead loved ones.

The requests did not make it through until now, and the parish will never get the money, estimated at about $30. Someone pinched the entire collection basket, slipped into the confessional and took the money. …

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