A man has turned himself in to police after he was caught on camera allegedly stealing donations for an autistic child whose father had died.
The 57-year-old is accused of taking envelopes containing an estimated $4,000 during a funeral procession at a church in Avondale Heights, in Melbourne’s north-west, on January 12.
He allegedly snatched the money while the casket of four-year-old Kai’s father was being carried away.
Kai’s father Shane, 43, died after suffering a severe asthma attack on New Year’s Eve, 9 News reported.
Shane’s family hoped to raise money for ongoing specialist care for Kai, who has high-range autism and is non-verbal.
The accused thief turned himself in after he was captured on CCTV allegedly loitering in the church lobby and eyeing-off the money.
He is accused of then taking the donation box from the church’s sign-in table.
Police charged him on Friday night with two counts of theft and one count of burglary.
He has been bailed to appear in Werribee Magistrates’ Court in June.
Shane’s brother Kevin said the funeral will be forever tainted by the ‘despicable act’, Herald Sun reported.
‘I’m not sure if in years to come if I can ever remember this funeral for anything else,’ he said.
The alleged theft was also labelled as one of the worst crimes senior constable Joey Micallef had seen in eight years as a policeman.
‘It’s a completely despicable, spineless act … I can’t seem to get my head around it,’ he told the publication.
He added: ‘It’s absolutely imperative this person is held accountable for his actions.’