POLICE have cuffed a thief who had been nicking the contents of Almeria City church collection boxes.
The San Isidro Labrador church priest alerted the authorities to the robberies in mid-April after he was woken up one night by noises from inside the place of worship. When he went to check out where it was coming from he caught sight of someone jumping over a wall with the metal donation box which had been attached to the church door.
Witness descriptions led investigators to identity the 49-year-old suspect, who police said had carried out two similar thefts: one from the Santiago church and from the Virgen del Mar sanctuary in the same month.
It also turned out he has a lengthy criminal record, and had been detained by police on 18 previous occasions.
One time he was caught red-handed during a break-in at the Almeria Municipal Music School after he forced open an exterior shutter. Police officers found him crouched inside and carrying two stolen mobile phones.