SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – Police have charged a 24-year-old man with allegedly stealing the wallet and credit cards of a local pastor from a Kendall Park church last June.

Capt. Jim Ryan said Thursday that Nigel Barnes, 24, with addresses in both Franklin Park and Brooklyn, New York, was charged this week with allegedly stealing the wallet from the pastor of the Christ the King Church on Route 27 in Kendall Park on June 28.

According to Ryan, the pastor arrived at the church early for a 9:30 a.m. service and left her purse containing her wallet in the church office.

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She did not find out that her purse and wallet had been stolen until later in the day.

At around 6 p.m. that evening, American Express contacted her to let her know that someone was trying to use her credit card, police said.

A few days later, another church on Sandhill Road reported suspicious activity to police regarding Barnes.

According to Ryan, Barnes allegedly went to that church to ask for help, but raised suspicion with the staff, who identified him.

Detective Eric Tighelaar investigated the cases and was able to link Barnes to similar thefts at churches in Princeton and New Brunswick, Ryan said.

According to Ryan, Barnes would either enter the church asking for help because he was homeless before allegedly taking anything, or would enter and allegedly steal purses.

Tighelaar linked Barnes to the Kendall Park theft after he allegedly used the stolen credit cards at the nearby Stop&Shop, Ryan said.

Barnes was charged with burglary for entering the church to commit a crime and theft for stealing the purse.

He is lodged at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center in North Brunswick in default of $25,000 bail, Ryan said.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Detective Tighelaar at (732) 329-4646, extension 7486.