Ukrainian Village church captures car theft on camera

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Church security cameras at the Ukrainian Catholic Eastern Right Church in Chicago's Ukrainian Village neighborhood captured a car theft after the victim had his keys stolen during worship.

As parishioners celebrated Sunday morning, a quiet intruder crept in.

"I wouldn't have even looked at him twice," Irina Prokip, the victim's daughter, said.

Nobody else seemed to either. Moments before the unknown man walked in, a 76-year-old parishioner named Zen parked his silver Volkswagen outside before heading inside to the coat closet at about 9:50 a.m.

"He watched all the parishioners walk in. And he saw another man in that closet, I believe, because there was someone before my father, but he waited for my father. And he watched him peek in, go back in, watched him turn off the lights, close the door, and directly after my father left he went back in ," Prokip said.

Church surveillance cameras clearly show the thief trying to blend into the crowd, briefly making in appearance in the sanctuary before slipping out and into the coat closet.

"He wasn't in the coat closet long enough to rifle through everything," said Prokip.

But he was in there long enough to find the keys to Zen's car. Cameras caught the thief wandering around the parking lot with the keyless remote before driving off in Zen's car as the family prayed, unknowingly, inside.

"This is our home. When we came to this country 40 years ago the first Sunday we came to church here. And even though we moved a lot, this was always constant, this was home. We feel safer here than anywhere else," she said.

Prokip said her elderly parents are now left without a car to get to church or anywhere else. The surveillance video has been handed over to Chicago police, and Prokip said she wants to believe she knows who the man in the video is, but she can't quite pinpoint him.
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