Unidentified vandals broke into the home of an 87-year-old Episcopal priest, beat him up, stole from him, and fled the scene, New York police said.
Stony Brook University Hospital doctors since Sunday treated who Long Island Episcopal Diocese identified as Priest Paul Wancura. Police found him injured in his home after Wancura’s friend alerted authorities, according to CBS New York. A friend, later identified as Rev. Charles McCarron of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, contacted police when he went to check on Wancura and found the priest tied to a chair in his Shelter Island home, Town Supervisor Gary Gerth told Newsday.
“His garage door was open, so his friend went directly into the house and found him tied up and … immediately called 911,” Gerth said. “The person was in pretty difficult shape.”
It is possible Wancura was left injured in his home for anywhere between several hours to several days after the vandals left, police told CBS. Wancura said he had been tied to the chair for at least a couple days, McCarron told Newsday. Police have not announced any leads but continue to search the community of Shelter Island, which can only be accessed by ferry and currently has a population of 2,400.
Wancura usually goes to the Episcopal Church of the Messiah in Central Islip, where he serves as a supply priest, for prayer, a friend of Wancura, identified only as Kirk, told CBS. Congregants realized something was amiss when Wancura did not arrive for Sunday worship, Kirk added. The church’s leadership eventually asked McCarron if he would check on Wancura. After authorities arrive, Wancura was airlifted to the hospital where he underwent surgery on Monday, Gerth said.
“The people who attacked him, on a personal level, they’re evil because who would attack such a … I mean the man is a real nice man,” Kirk told CBS.
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