INDIO, Calif. - Detectives with the Indio Police Department arrested a man Wednesday afternoon in connection to burglarizing the same church three times in less than two months.
The theft occurred at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, located at 82450, Bliss Avenue in Indio.
Enrique Labastida, 30, is suspected of stealing audio/video equipment twice, a donation box, and the church's gold-plated tabernacle that's worth close to $20,000. The total estimated loss was close to $30,000, according to police.
The first time Labastida allegedly broke into the church occurred on Christmas Eve of last year. The next two times he's accused of stealing from the church happened in the last two weeks; on February 5, and again on February 10.
Unlike another church burglar who was recently caught in California after snapping a 'selfie' on a stolen cell phone he left at the scene of the crime, Labastida was caught by good old-fashioned police work.
Authorities said they were able to catch up with him after the church decided to beef up its security by installing new locks, security cameras and an alarm system.
Police caught Labastida at his home in the 45400 block of Park Street in Indio after they received tips and reviewed surveillance footage. They said he also admitted to burglarizing the church.
They found the church tabernacle, which was cut up into sections, at the suspect's home as well. The parts were returned to Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
Labastida was booked into the Riverside County Jail in Indio on charges of burglary and possession of stolen property.