Homeless Man Allegedly Robbed Queens Churches to 'Get Back at God,' Prosecutors Say - NBC New York
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Homeless Man Allegedly Robbed Queens Churches to 'Get Back at God,' Prosecutors Say

The 23-year-old suspect is also wanted for burglary by authorities in Orange County, Florida

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    Prosecutors say a homeless man faces burglary and hate crime charges after he allegedly robbed four churches, one of which he stole from three times, in Queens, because of his hatred of God. Rana Novini reports.

    (Published Thursday, April 13, 2017)

    A homeless man faces burglary and hate crime charges after he allegedly robbed four churches, one of which he stole from three times, in Queens, New York, because of his hatred of God, according to prosecutors.

    Woznik allegedly told police at the time of his arrest he was "mad at God" and denounced religion, saying his break-ins were an attempt to retaliate.

    "I'm mad at God. I don't like church no more. I don't want to deal with religion," court documents say he told police. "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."

    Joseph Woznik was arrested Wednesday, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Thursday.

    Between March 21 and April 10, Woznik allegedly broke into the Bangladesh Hindu Maunder Temple in Flushing, Blessed Virgin Mary Help of Christians church in Woodside, St. Mary's Romanian Orthodox Church in Elmhurst and St. James Episcopal Church in Flushing, according to criminal complaints.

    An employee at the Hindu temple found cash missing from three donation boxes forced open on March 21, prosecutors said. Fingerprints lifted from the boxed allegedly matched Woznik's. 

    Woznik allegedly burglarized St. James Episcopal Church three times between March 24 and April 10, according to prosecutors. He allegedly stole a Canon digital camera, $1,800 in cash and three checks; two of those items were recovered from his backpack at the time of his arrest, investigators said.

    Matthew Mirabelli/AFP/Getty Images

    With it being Holy Week, religious leaders said they're not angry, but they do hope he gets help.

    "I would tell him that he should find God first and see that God is not a reason to do something bad or damaging," said Justin Bertea of St. Mary's Romanian Orthodox Church.

    "Maybe for us as a religious organization, we haven't lived up to what we need to do," said Rev. Paul Lai of St. James Episcopal Church. "So that's why someone who was in a crisis didn't get the help."

    The 23-year-old could face up to 15 years in prison if he's convicted.

    Woznik is also wanted by Orange County officials in Florida on a fugitive from justice charge. He is accused of burglary, grand theft and criminal mischief, according to prosecutors.

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