DC Priest Chases Thief, Goes on to Lead Mass

Prior to celebrating mass Sunday morning, a Capitol Hill priest went on a couple of runs -- one for some exercise and one to catch a thief.

At about 10:40 a.m., the Rev. Bill Hegedusich, of St. Peter's, was preparing for Mass when he heard someone enter the sacristy, the room where the church's safe is located, the Washington Post reported. Hegedusich initially didn't think anything of it because the sacristy also is where church-goers can light prayer candles or chat with church officials, but when he heard the rattle of the unlocked safe door, he knew something was up.

In the sacristy, the 48-year-old priest saw a man, and after a brief conversation, the man ran away, according to the newspaper. Hegedusich asked the man not to run in the church and then noticed two bags of money were missing from the safe, which was unlocked because church officials were preparing for mass. Hegedusich had to act quickly, as the man was sprinting toward the door.

The priest chased the man through an alley and down the street. Knowing where the alley came out, Hegedusich tried to cut off the man.

Thinking the man could be armed, Hegedusich kept his distance and yelled that he just wanted the money back. The thief ditched one bag on North Carolina Avenue SE and continued running with the other, the Washington Post reported. Hegedusich picked up the bag and headed back to the church, where he celebrated 11 a.m. Mass a few minutes late.

As of Sunday afternoon, church officials still hadn't counted the money that they recovered, but Hegedusich estimated that the thief took almost $125 and that the bag he picked up had about $60, according to the Washington Post.

No arrests had been made.

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