WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Pierre Valodine of Hubertus was arrested on Nov. 7 -- accused of stealing money from the Holy Hill National Shrine of Mary Church in the Town of Erin, Washington County. He now faces two felony charges.
According to the Washington County Sheriff's Office, an investigation began after Valodine was suspected of stealing money from the church while he was sorting and counting money with other volunteers.
"They had noticed that there seemed to be discrepancies from past totals when it came to donations," said Lt. Bob Konstanz, Washington County Sheriff's Office.
Suspecting he wasn't being honest about the counting process, church employees worked with the sheriff's office to set up a sting.
"We had a couple detectives there that were able to monitor the money counting room and the detectives were able to see that this person was physically placing money in his inner coat pocket and his pants pockets," said Lt. Konstanz.
Detectives confronted the 75-year-old suspect.
"He had over $1,400 in his pockets from that particular day," said Konstanz.
Voladine allegedly admitted to taking $50,000 over the course of the past year, but Lt. Konstanz says the actual amount is believed to be anywhere between $85,000-$135,000.
"I think that's terrible," said Pat Johnson.
Some of the donations are likely from Pat Johnson. She gives back to the church often.
While Johnson is focusing on her faith to find forgiveness, prosecutors have charged Valodine with two felony counts of theft.
"It's bad stealing from anybody, but you're taking donations from a church. It's bad," Johnson said.
The sheriff's office say initially Valodine said he stole the money to pay for his wife's medical bills, but later said that was a lie and never explained why he really took it.
Lt. Konstanz says he did not appear remorseful. A priest at the church declined to comment on the investigation.
Valodine made an appearance in Washington County Court and has been charged with two counts of theft> than $10,000.00 which are Class G Felonies.