Baldwin police are searching for a suspect who attempted to rob a priest at the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Baldwin. The incident happened Tuesday night when Father Greg Cormier returned to the rectory just after 8 p.m.
"He came toward me and had a sweater wrapped around his hand. He said, 'give me everything you have.' I said, 'I have nothing.' He told me to give me what I had and I said ‘I have nothing but Jesus,'" Father Cormier explained. He said he closed his eyes and immediately began praying.
"Lord Jesus, come into my heart and come into my life. I ask you for forgiveness for anything that I have done in my life that is contrary to your Divine will. Lord, I pray for this young man and I hope you help him and guide him," Father Cormier recited.
He said he then told the suspect that Jesus loves him, which apparently took the suspect by surprise.
"He said, 'you sure about that?' I told him yes and he asked me again if I was sure and I said ‘yes, Jesus loves you.' Then he began to back away."
The suspect fled on foot and Father Cormier called the police. When authorities arrived, they noticed something suspicious.
"We noticed glass on the floor of the rectory. It was then I realized I have stopped an attempted burglary."
Father Cormier was wearing his clerical collar at the time of the incident. He said he was surprised by the appearance of the robber, describing him as a normal looking kid. Officials with the Baldwin Police Department said they are looking at possible suspects. While there have been an increase in thefts of unlocked vehicles and homes in the area, police do not believe the attempted robbery is connected.
Father Cormier said he wasn't scared but felt completely at peace. "I had no idea what was about to happen to me. But I am thankful to be alive this morning."
Police are looking for a young black male, in his early 20s, with a thin build and oval shaped face. He had a sweater wrapped around his hand and a baseball cap on at the time of the incident. Anyone with information is asked to call the Baldwin Police Department at 337-923-4845.