Engel arrested for thefts at church during Easter services

Shaun M. Engel

Shaun M. Engel

GUILDERLAND — Churchgoers at Easter Sunday services were victims of two thefts at Lynnwood Reformed Church, according to a press release from the Guilderland Police.

Police arrested Shaun M. Engel, 28, of Guilderland, on April 9, for fourth-degree grand larceny, a felony, and petit larceny, a misdemeanor, stemming from incidents at the church on Easter, the release said.

While services were being conducted at the church at 3714 Carman Rd., Engel stole a set of keys from a parishioner’s coat pocket, used the keys to enter a locked vehicle, and stole a wallet from the vehicle, according to the release; that same day, Engel also entered an unlocked vehicle in the church lot and took a victim’s credit card from a wallet.

Pastor Garrett Szantner said this week that Engel was not a parishioner, but someone who attended the service on Easter, when church attendance usually almost doubles. The coat had been hanging in a coatroom, Szantner said.

“We lament that this happened, but at the same time, extend grace,” said Pastor Stacey Duensing, “because that’s what we received from God and are also called to give to others.” She said that church officials had not yet reached out to Engel, but planned to.

The church is also committed to ensuring the safety of parishioners, Szantner said, and will use the incident as an opportunity to reflect on whether any procedures need to be changed.

Engel was arraigned on April 9 and due in court next on April 19, according to Clerk Jennifer Stephens.

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