Upper Darby cops nab man they say stole church's Sunday collection

If the allegations against James Joy prove true, perhaps he should be more worried about facing St. Peter at the pearly gates than going before a judge.

Joy, 22, was arrested yesterday for stealing the collection money from St. Andrew's Church, in Drexel Hill, on Sunday, Upper Darby Superintendent Michael Chitwood said.

Cops say James Joy, a heroin addict, stole the money.

It's not Joy's first run-in with the law. He has two prior theft convictions, at least one of which was for stealing items and money from his own mother, according to court records and previously published media reports.

Chitwood said that Joy is a heroin addict and used the $350 in cash he took from the collection to buy drugs.

Joy - wearing a ski mask and sunglasses - allegedly robbed a 17-year-old church usher who was walking the collection money from the church to the nearby rectory while Mass was being celebrated.

Numerous tips from the community led police to Joy, who was found inside a friend's apartment on Garrett Road near Maple Avenue, Chitwood said.

"We go in and he's sitting in the chair texting someone," Chitwood said. "He was surprised he got caught."

Joy was taken into custody without incident, police said. He was charged with theft, robbery and related offenses, police said.

Chitwood said that Joy is essentially homeless and typically stays wherever he can find a bed.