Woman charged with breaking into church
By Terry Oparka
Posted December 5, 2007
Police believe she may be involved in other church break-ins
TROY — Police believe a 41-year-old Warren woman charged with breaking and entering of a Troy church may have broken into other local churches.
After collection envelopes came up short at St. Joseph Chaldean Church, located on Big Beaver, just west of Dequindre, a church official initiated the investigation in October.
Police said a church surveillance camera showed the woman inside the church with a flashlight on three separate occasions.
According to police, on Oct. 29 at 4:34 a.m., surveillance cameras captured the woman reaching into the collection box near the prayer candle area. She is seen walking away holding something in her hand, then enters an office used to count cash and rummages through drawers and cabinets, police said.
She was also captured on videotape reaching into the collection box of the prayer candle area Nov. 5 and 19. She was wearing the same coat all three times, police said.
Entry to the church was gained by prying open two sets of exterior doors, police said.
The woman is not a member of the church, said police. The regular paid cleaning staff had introduced her to church officials as someone who liked to help churches with cleaning and maintenance; she was not issued a key to the building, police said.
The woman did not cooperate with police conducting the investigation, said Troy Police Lt. Gerry Scherlinck. Police arrested her at her Warren home on Dec. 7 without incident.
Hilary Anne Harbuz was arraigned Dec. 8 in 52-4 District Court on three counts of breaking and entering. She requested a court appointed attorney and was released on personal bond. The preliminary exam is scheduled for Dec. 20.
Police believe she may have been acting as a volunteer cleaning person at other local churches, and ask anyone who recognizes the suspect or who has experienced similar incidents to contact Troy Detective David Nordstrom at (248) 524-3477.
About the author
Staff Writer Terry Oparka covers Troy and the Troy School District for the Troy Times. Oparka has worked for C & G Newspapers since 2000 and attended Oakland University and Macomb Community College. Oparka has won an award from the Michigan Press Association and four awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, Detroit Chapter.
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