Western Kentucky priest catches thief suspect

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OWENSBORO, Ky. (WFIE) - A priest chased after a man accused of stealing a woman’s purse at a gathering at Saints Joseph and Paul Catholic Church in Owensboro.

Police say 56-year-old Jeffrey Woods slipped into the parish hall and stole a parishioner’s purse.

Father Jean Rene Kalombo says he saw it happen and decided to chase after the suspect.

“He kept walking and running, and sometimes I walked and sometimes I run after him,” said Father Jean Rene Kalombo.

Police say Woods stole the purse on the Church’s campus at Fourth and Clay Street and tried to lose Father Kalombo, but the persistent priest did not let up.

He eventually caught Woods more than a mile away, in the 1600 block of Breckenridge Street.

Police say they do not normally suggest chasing someone who appears to be committing theft.

“Definitely pursuing something like that can be potentially dangerous. But in this case, it ended up working out well,” said Owensboro Police Department Officer Andrew Boggess.

Father Kalombo says he is making plans to add an extra message at this Sunday’s mass.

“Their pastor is going to take care of them no matter what the danger, the problem, or anything that’s coming. I’m going to stand and protect them," said Kalombo.

Owensboro police arrested Woods.

Woods was also accused of stealing a child’s backpack off the front porch of a home a few months ago. He’s now facing new charges.

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