LYTLE, Texas — Money to help the poor was stolen from St. Andrew Catholic Church in Lytle.

Rev. Varghese Antony said thieves have targeted the house of worship three times this year. He said the latest theft was last week. The money taken was from a donation box with the words, 'Help the Poor' written on it.

Father Antony said whoever did it, broke the lock off this box.

"I am scared of the growing tendency, the growing tendency of theft," he said.

He couldn't say how much was taken. The funds inside the donation boxes go to people in need. It could be used for gas money or help on a bill.

"They do not need to steal," he said. "They can come and ask for help. We have so many organizations."

Across the street from the church is a vacant building that the church is looking at buying. But Father Antony said someone stole its four AC units last month.

"Stealing is not the way," he said.

In terms of security, the priest said he won't shut down the church during the day. "I have seen many people come and light their candles and pray. That is why we don't want to lock it up," he said.

The priest also wants to convey this message to the thieves.

"We forgive them," he said. "But, the only thing is, if you come, we are ready to help you. Why do you need to steal?"

Lytle's Police Chief said there are no updates on this case. He said despite these thefts, property crime in the small town has not increased.