Wednesday, September 17, 2014
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Unholy night: 'Whacked out' couple crashes midnight Mass

A couple of unholy, intoxicated church goers - high on booze and drugs - crashed a midnight Mass in Drexel Hill on Christmas when they stumbled down the aisle, fondled each other in a pew and flushed drugs down the church toilet, police said.

Unholy night: 'Whacked out' couple crashes midnight Mass

A couple of unholy, intoxicated church goers - high on booze and drugs - crashed a midnight Mass in Drexel Hill on Christmas when they stumbled down the aisle, fondled each other in a pew and flushed drugs down the church toilet, police said.

Authorities believe Alexander Pirone, 21, and Catherine McGrath, 24, planned to hide out in the restroom until after the building was locked up for the night so they could burglarize the church, but a cop and an EMT who were also at the Mass thwarted their plan, said police Superintendent Michael Chitwood.

Pirone and McGrath burst into St. Charles Borromeo Roman Catholic Church on Burmont Road and stumbled down the aisle shortly after midnight Mass began on Dec. 25,  police said. Officer Samuel Sproull, who was on duty at the time and attending the Mass, saw them come in and saw that they were "whacked out," Chitwood said.

"At one point in time, they were fondling one another in the pew to the point where a couple of the church goers had to tell them to stop acting like morons," Chitwood said. "They had to tell them that they were there to worship and pray and stop making a spectacle of themselves."

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When the Mass was over, Sproull decided to wait for the couple outside of the church, but they never came out, Chitwood said. As the priest was about to lock up the church for the night, an EMT worker who also attended the Mass told Sproull that he'd seen the couple go downstairs and never come up, police said.

Sproull went downstairs and found Pirone sitting on the steps and McGrath locked in the bathroom, flushing the toilet, Chitwood said. When he was able to get the restroom door open, Sproull found four glassine bags in the toilet that are typically used to hold heroin, Chitwood said. A search of McGrath turned up a plastic vial with several bags of heroin in it as well as 43 pills, he said. Sproull also found numerous dangerous pills and narcotics on Pirone, Chitwood said. Both Pirone, of Clifton Heights, and McGrath, of Springfield, smelled of alcohol at the time too, according to police.

McGrath and Pirone, both of whom have a history of drug offenses, were arrested and charged with narcotics violations and public drunkenness, police said. They remain in prison in lieu of $30,000 and $20,000 bail, respectively, police said.

"They were looking for a problem," Chitwood said. "Well, both are still in jail so Merry Christmas to them."

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