Church handbag thieves strike again in Ardboe

PARISHIONERS at an Ardboe Church have been warned not to leave their belongings in vehicles whilst they attend services after thieves struck for the second time in two months.

A lady parishioner at Ardboe Church, Moortown had her handbag snatched from her car whilst she attended Stations of the Cross last Friday evening.

It is the second time in two months thieves have stolen belongings from vehicles parked up whilst owners attend mass.

It is not known if parishioners are being deliberately targeted or whether opportunist thieves are to blame.

Speaking to the MAIL this week, parish priest Father Sean McCartan said parish members had been urged to exercise vigilance.

He said: “It seems to be that those to blame could be opportunist thieves who see a handbag or something valuable and take their chance.”

“We have reminded parishioners again not to leave handbags or any other valuables in their cars while parking in the grounds of the church car park.”

Following the incident police in Cookstown have appealed to the public to take preventative measures to combat thieves.

A PSNI spokesperson said: “People leaving vehicles unattended anywhere - including outside churches; homes; at local beauty spots should:

“Lock the doors, close the windows and sun roof when you leave the car unattended. Never leave anything on display and remove the stereo, if you can.

Remove satellite navigation devices where possible, including the holder and suction pad. Remember to wipe away any suction pad marks left on the windscreen or dashboard.

“Tuck in wing mirrors and put down the aerial to discourage vandals. Never store your vehicle’s documents in the car.

“Use a Thatcham-compliant immobiliser or steering lock to secure older vehicles.”