LAKEWOOD, N.J. (AP) -- Authorities say a man who sought aid from a southern New Jersey church instead tried to steal about $1,500 in collection money.

(BlakeDavidTaylor, ThinkStock)

Lakewood police say 37-year-old township resident Lamberto Fattori went to St. Mary's of the Lake Church around 11 a.m. Sunday and asked for help, saying he needed money due to a recent fire at his home.

A church usher told Fattori the church could help him, but asked if he would wait until the service ended. A short time later, church staffers noticed that a bag containing the collection money was missing.

Police found Fattori near the church and charged him with theft. They say the stolen money was recovered.

Fattori's bail was set at $10,000 cash. It wasn't known Monday if he's retained an attorney.

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