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Published on April 12, 2024
Alleged Phony Priest Suspected of Church Heists Finally Caught in Moreno ValleySource: Riverside County Sheriff's Department

Authorities have finally collared a con artist who masqueraded as a priest to smoothly carry out a spate of church burglaries, officials said. The alleged faux-father, 45-year-old Malin Rostas, was nabbed on April 10th in Moreno Valley after cops spotted him in a black sedan linked to the heists.

Dubbed "Father Martin," Rostas used his clerical guise to gain entry to churches and help himself to their possessions, police alleged. According to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, the New York resident was initially arrested on an outstanding felony warrant from Pennsylvania, but it didn't take long to connect him to the recent attempted burglary in Moreno Valley.

The wayward "priest" was booked at the Robert Presley Detention Center, with the expectation he will to have face additional charges for his alleged crimes in California. The case, as per law enforcement sources, is far from closed, and investigators believe there may be more victims of the thieving clergyman's schemes out there.

Deputy Sam Morovich of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department stated that "Rostas was booked at the Robert Presley Detention Center on the outstanding warrant." Furthermore, he emphasized that they will to also file charges against Rostas for the attempted burglary in Moreno Valley, as per the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. The investigation remains active, with a call to action for those who may have fallen prey to "Father Martin" to step forward.

Moreno Valley's Sheriff's Station has urged anyone with information on the case or similar burglaries to get in touch with Investigator McCracken at (951) 486-6700. The Sheriff’s Station also extended the call to action to individuals outside of Moreno Valley, advising them to contact their local law enforcement should they have any pertinent details.