Man arrested in rectory burglary

Cary Ashby • Apr 15, 2019 at 9:00 PM

A man accused of burglarizing a Norwalk rectory is being held in custody on a $50,000 bond.

The Norwalk Police Department arrested Ryan J. Justice, 38, in connection with the burglary Friday morning at the rectory for St. Mary Mother of the Redeemer Church. He was charged with burglary, a second-degree felony punishable by two to eight years in prison.

“Ryan Justice was arrested on Friday. … He was arrested in Norwalk,” Detective Sgt. Seth Fry said. “He doesn’t have a known residence.”

Fry said the suspect was identified through the investigation, but declined to elaborate.

“The investigation is still ongoing,” said the detective when asked if there are other suspects.

Police received the report of a burglary at the rectory on West League Street at 7:07 a.m. Friday. 

A St. Mary employee reported for work and realized the pastor’s residence “had been entered and someone had strewn some things around” and some items had been stolen, Fry said earlier. The employee backed out of the home, secured it and called police.

“He (the pastor) was sleeping at the time,” said Fry, who noted the man wasn’t aware of the crime. “No one was injured.”

Officer Jared Ferris was the first person to respond. He requested Fry, who called the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) to help process the scene and collect unspecified evidence.

A BCI agent, who arrived at the scene after 11 a.m., started loading his camera and other equipment into the truck about 1:10 p.m. The truck was parked behind the garage of the rectory.

“We recovered most of the items,” Fry said Monday. “There was a lot of stuff taken out of there.”

The morning Mass was canceled Friday because investigators were at the scene. A St. Mary employee, when reached by phone Friday, said nobody was authorized to speak to the media about the burglary and all questions should go to the Toledo diocese.

“They are aware of the situation,” the employee said.

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