Location Of Theft in AQUA BLUE
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Theft Description In Body Of Article in RED

Saturday, December 04, 2010


Crime hits new low: Oratory has meat stolen

Crime hits new low: Oratory robbed of meat

 - Herald Columnist
There are low crimes, and then there is stealing from a church.
And just when you think it can't get any lower - warmed by the flames of a place that none of us wants to visit - crime stoops lower.
Somebody stole meat from the Oratory in Rock Hill, a community of Roman Catholic clergy that gives to the poor much of what it collects.
And the criminal broke a door to boot. All for $75 worth of beef.
"Anybody asks for meat, we would have given out more than that which was taken," said Brother David Boone, who has lived at the Oratory and worked his magic for the poor in Rock Hill for more than 50 years.
"But it is not the first time. They took pork chops the last time they broke in."
The Oratory on Charlotte Avenue is where these men of God, a dozen of them, live. They cook communally, share the work, and spend their lives helping others. The chapel there holds Mass each day - open to the entire world.
Signs all around the place read, "All are welcome."
The prayer garden has no signs that say thieves or sinners or burglars cannot pray. The Oratory invites them all.
Oratory priests and brothers staff all the Catholic churches in Rock Hill, Fort Mill, York and Lake Wylie. At all those places, they give away food, clothes, money - and love.
The late Father David Valtierra, who died in May after 35 years at the Oratory, spent his life working for world peace and to end one scourge: world hunger.
Every Oratorian's mission is to feed the hungry.
Scratch marks on the door to the building showed where it had been pried open, according to a Rock Hill Police report. Then, to make matters worse, someone smashed the lock on the freezer and made off with the food of the brothers and priests.
These men give the body of Christ during Mass to honor Jesus, who just happened to give away food, too.
Certainly, these men suspect somebody stole from them to sell the meat for a few dollars to buy dope. Police are investigating, but so far have not found the meat or the culprit.
Yet, even the police who investigate thefts every day found the theft of food from men who give away food each day despicable.
Jose Schlubach of the Oratory, who called police, used these words to describe what happened: "Somebody robbed us."
But Schlubach is a man of God and therefore, hope, and he added: "We've gone two days now without being robbed again."
It was Boone and others from the Oratory and the community who started the Dorothy Day Soup Kitchen on Crawford Road in Rock Hill a quarter-century ago to serve the hungry. All food cooked and served is free.
More than two dozen churches and community groups pitch in each month. One day this week there were 125 people served - more than 20 were children. Other days, more than 100 people ate.
And on Friday, the soup kitchen was jammed, elbow to elbow. Kids, the old. The desperate.
Word spread that somebody stole from the Oratory and one guy - who has no other means to eat - stood up from the lunch he was eating and said: "That's downright shameful. They give it all away anyway."
Nobody has to steal from the soup kitchen, either - you would think.
"We had copper stolen from the air conditioners, and two computers from the building," said Boone, who has an office in the building.
Yet Boone did not scream or curse or yell.
He simply opened his door, and two men without homes came in for help. Boone, now officially on the list of crime victims, gave help to them - with a smile.
Andrew Dys 803-329-4065

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