Thousands of dollars in donations meant for kids stolen from San Jose church

It is the season of giving, but for a small few it is also the season for taking what others generously give.

A realization evident in this video taken at Our Lady of Guadalupe church in San Jose Saturday.

“I would say to them that it’s not our money. It was the money of the children. It was to buy gifts for them and you’re robbing not only money, but you’re also robbing gifts for children,” said Father Gerardo Menchaca of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church

Father Menchaca said the two people who were captured on church surveillance, stepped onto the holy ground to commit an unholy act.

“You can see in the video how they’re waiting by the door because they couldn’t come in to steal the box,” he said Tuesday.

At Our Lady of Guadalupe Church where the doors are always open for people to come in, pray and confess their sins, those two were only interested in lining their own pockets

“They also come in and they pretend to ask a question to the cleaning lady. Once she turned around I guess that’s when you see them just coming in and grabbing the wooden box and taking it away,” Father Menchaca said. 

The pair who carried out the Christmas holiday crime ran past an unsuspecting parishioner who is seen entering the sanctuary but is none the wiser to the bold move that's being carried out.

The Father said that the money was meant to put a surprise on the faces of kids who are among the 6,000 members of the church that is largely from the immigrant community.

“All the money that we get from the selling of the candles go toward buying gifts for the children,” said Father Gerardo Menchaca.

After the money is collected every year, it's used to buy gifts, which are handed out to kids during the day of the wise men celebration that takes place on Jan. 6. 

But the event is now shrouded in uncertainty because there is no money to buy the toys that are needed for the event.

Instead of holding ill-will toward the thieves and in keeping with the spirit of the Christmas season, Father Menchaca has chosen to express a message of hope to the people who took the money that was donated to the church and meant for children.

“I'm inviting the community to pray for these two individuals. I hope and pray that they will listen to this message," he said. "My hope is that they will repent. I think it goes with the spirit of Christmas which is a conversion of heart and change of heart and hopefully, they will return to the money.”

The church has set up a GoFundMe page with the hope of raising enough money in time to buy the children of its congregation gifts in time of the day of the wise men celebration.