SAN ANTONIO -

A 40-year-old maintenance manager, identified as Tom Harness, is accused of stealing thousands of dollars from the weekly collection plate at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

San Antonio police arrested Harness on a theft charge Thursday, although they believe the crime has been ongoing since last June.

The affidavit stated that the director of operations at the North Side church began to notice weekend donations dwindling, from the usual $2,500 total to just a few hundred dollars, at times.

He became suspicious, however, after a parishioner found discarded donation envelopes in the trash, the affidavit stated.

The director of operations then set up surveillance cameras, both in an office where the church safe is kept, and in the safe, itself, according to the affidavit.

The cameras captured an image of a man believed to be Harness, the affidavit stated.

Detectives said they later questioned Harness and he admitted he had taken a total of about $25,000 from the church since June, and used the money to buy drugs.

The church, however, is still calculating how much money is missing, the affidavit stated.

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