Friday, February 16, 2007

Burglar Locks Self In Church For Five Days, Lives On Wine

A Ukrainian burglar who accidently locked himself inside a church survived for five days on sacramental wine before surrendering to police, Sehodnia newspaper reported on Friday.

The break-in specialist's unplanned stay inside a religious building took place in the village of Klevan, in Ukraine's western Rivne province.

The man, identified in the report as a professional thief working under the name Volodymyr, entered Klevan's Christian Orthodox church early in the morning, before Sunday service.

His plan to remove the church's gold fixtures among other valuables went awry after he fell asleep, while attempting to file the lock off of an attic door.

Volodymyr only woke up later in the evening, after church service had been completed and the village priest had locked the building up tight. The Klevan church is closed most weekdays.

The burglar's reported intoxication while committing the break-in contributed to his error, said Myhailo Melnik, a Klevan police spokesman.

A search of the premises by the suspect uncovered interior keys opening the church safe, from which he removed the equivalent of four hundred dollars.

The keys however did not open any exterior locks. Burglar bars and tough doors prevented the man's exit, until priests returned the following Thursday.

During his stay inside the 28-year-old subsisted on dry bread, and a total 12 litres of sacramental wine used during church services.

Volodymyr reportedly confessed his guilt shortly after the priests arrived. He returned the stolen money and surrendered voluntarily to police, Melnik said.

The maximum jail term in Ukraine for breaking and entering is five years, but Volodymyr is hoping the judge hearing his case will show mercy, according to the report.

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