Thieves trash Melbourne priest's home

A Melbourne parish priest, Fr Jim Clarke, arrived back from a weekend trip to find that thieves had trashed his home causing $10,000 worth of damage, leaving candle wax and crockery scattered throughout his home.

Moonee Valley Community News reports that police are hunting the thieves who ransacked Fr Clarke's home at St Mary's Ascot Vale.

The community has rallied around Fr Clarke, the paper says, after a break-in over the Australia Day weekend.

Detective Sergeant John Hili, of Moonee Valley criminal investigation unit, told the paper that thieves ransacked each room after smashing a window to get in. He said the thieves could have been disturbed because valuables, including DVD players, clothing and food, were boxed but left behind. Cash and CDs were stolen.

Fr Clarke said he returned from a weekend trip to find his home trashed.

"There was candle wax all over the carpets, on clothes, over the bed, inside drawers, even in the kitchen. There was broken crockery all over the floor. It was absolute devastation."

"I feel very much used and abused. I've never turned anybody away who's come to my front door and asked for help.

"To come in and ransack and abuse whatever hospitality I've tried to offer ... makes me feel disappointed and angry. It's a malicious act, almost vindictive."

Fr Clarke said the community had shown enormous support.

"Members of the parish and parents of the nearby [St Mary's Primary] school have invited me into their homes for a meal and are basically taking control of what to do for maintenance."

Thieves ransack and wreck priest's home (Moonee Valley Community News, 6/2/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
St Mary's Parish, Ascot Vale

Police seek man over Melbourne priest bashing (CathNews, 10/1/07)
Court appearance following Newcastle priest bashing (CathNews, 11/10/05)
Priest beats up would-be robbers (CathNews, 28/6/04)

7 Feb 2007