BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
The man responsible for burglarizing four houses of worship in western and northeast Queens this year has been sentenced to a period of a year and six months to four years and six months in prison, the Queens district attorney said.
Between March 21 and Aug. 10, Joseph Woznik, 24, broke into the Bangladesh Hindu Mandir Temple in Flushing, Blessed Virgin Mary Help of Christians (St. Mary’s of Winfield) in Woodside, St. Mary’s Romanian Orthodox Church in Elmhurst and St. James Episcopal Church in Flushing.
Woznik pleaded guilty in September and, on Oct. 13, was sentenced by Queens Supreme Court Justice Barry Kron on charges of burglary, grand theft and criminal mischief.
On March 21, Woznik stole three donation boxes worth of cash from the Bangladesh Hindu Mindir Temple. Woznik’s involvement in the theft was confirmed by fingerprint samples.
Three days later, Woznik broke into St. James Episcopal Church’s office and stole $1,600 in cash. He returned on April 3 and snatched a digital camera from the church’s office, which he then pawned for cash. On April 10, he returned to the church and took three checks from a checkbook in the church. According to Queens DA Richard Brown, pawn shop receipts and two checks were retrieved from Woznik at the time of his arrest.
On April 10, Woznik also broke into St. Mary’s Romanian Orthodox Church—but when the church’s alarm went off, he ran.
On that same day, he then went to Blessed Virgin Mary Help of Christians and stole cash from a donation box as well as $20 from underneath a statue inside the church.
According to the criminal complaint, Woznik said that he carried out the thefts at the churches because he was “mad at God.”
“I’m mad at God. I don’t like church no more,” he told police. “I don’t want to deal with religion. I’m sick and tired of hearing about religion. I don’t break into houses, only churches. I break in to get back at God.”
Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400 x144, firstname.lastname@example.org or @reporter_ariel.