A warning has been issued after Christmas Mass-goers in Derry were targeted by thieves who broke into their vehicles and stole personal items, including handbags and money.
Police are investigating the upsetting incident at Thornhill Chapel (Church of the Immaculate Conception) on the Saturday before Christmas, when five parked cars were damaged and items taken.
Some of the items were later recovered in the Racecourse Road area.
One family, who had their car window smashed and a handbag taken, said they wanted to warn others to be aware of potential and opportunistic thieves operating outside churches in the city and across the North West.
Caitlin Davenport told the ‘Journal’ her mother’s handbag, which contained two purses, her week’s takings from work, her phone and sentimental items, was taken from their car after its window had been broken. It had been parked outside the church at Thornhill on Saturday, December 21.
A number of Mass-goers in Donegal also had items stolen over Christmas, in areas such as Castlefin and Drumoghill.
Police confirmed they were investigating the thefts in Derry and appealed for information following the report of criminal damage and theft in the Culmore Road area on Saturday, December 21.
Sergeant Hughes said: “Sometime between 6pm and 6:40pm, it was reported that five cars parked in the area were damaged and a number of items were taken from the vehicles.
“Some of the items, including a handbag, mobile phone and car keys, were recovered aint the Racecourse Road area of the city later that evening.
“Enquiries are continuing and police would appeal to anyone who witnessed anything suspicious in the area to contact them on 101, quoting reference number 1630 21/12/19.
“Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”