A Wrexham man who stole from people while they attended church in Chester has been sentenced to 20 months.
Maciey Zielinski, aged 39, of Vernon Street in Wrexham pleaded guilty to three counts of burglary, two counts of theft and one count of fraud. He was sentenced at Chester Crown Court on Thursday 6 June.
Over a two week period Zielinski committed six offences including stealing a purse from Wesley Methodist Church and Chester Cathedral, around £100 from St John’s Church and two burglaries at Chester University.
On 7 March a woman was volunteering at Wesley Methodist Church when she noticed her purse was missing from her handbag after she placed it under a chair.
After retracing her steps and unable to find it she visited her bank to discover Zielinski had attempted to withdraw several transactions from her card.
In another theft, Zielinski stole a purse belonging to an 87-year-old woman who had visited Chester Cathedral to attend a service. While inside the Cathedral’s café Zielinski is believed to have stolen her purse and made around eight transactions in various places.
The court heard how Zielinski entered St John’s Church, went into a private room and opened up a cabinet where he stole £100 from a float inside. Zielinski had earlier visited the church where he received support for him and his family after he didn’t have a place to stay.
On separate occasions Zielinski stole purses from two women while they worked at Chester University.
He also made off from a hotel without paying the bill after him and his family stayed there for three nights.
Zielinski was arrested on the 8 May and remanded into custody.
Police Constable Melissa Sawojka, Chester City Centre Beat Manager, said: “Zielinski not only deliberately targeted those who attend church but broke into a place of worship to steal money even after they had financially supported him and his family.
“His mind was on stealing from those who give so much to those who need help in our local community.
“I’m pleased Zielinski has owned up to his crimes and will now be punished for committing them.”
Inspector Emma Parry, of Chester Local Policing Unit, said: “The officers who worked on this case were determined to find Zielinski. They worked very hard to ensure his arrest and gather evidence which meant he had no choice but to admit to his crimes.
“Unfortunately thieves will always try their best to strike and we have to ensure we do all we can to prevent them. I want to take this opportunity to remind the public that they can help by always keeping their belongings safe, either close by and in sight or locked securely away.”
Anyone who has been a victim of these types of crime are encouraged to report it to Cheshire Police on 101.