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Nationwide hunt for serial burglar posing as fake priest ends in Moreno Valley

Photo provided by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

A manhunt for a serial burglar masquerading as a fake priest, “Father Martin,” ended on Wednesday when Moreno Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies apprehended the suspect, who reportedly gained access to churches by using fraud and deception to commit theft.

On April 10 at about 11 a.m., deputies from the Moreno Valley Sheriff’s Station located a vehicle in the 10000 block of Pigeon Pass Road, matching the description of the vehicle used during the burglaries.

The driver, identified as 45-year-old Malin Rostas of New York, was taken into custody for an outstanding felony warrant related to burglary from Pennsylvania. Investigators discovered that Rostas was “Father Martin” and had just attempted to burglarize a local church.

Rostas was booked at the Robert Presley Detention Center on an outstanding warrant. Additional charges will be filed for the attempted burglary in Moreno Valley, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said.

The Moreno Valley Sheriff’s Station believes there may be additional burglary victims. Anyone with information regarding this case or similar cases is asked to contact Investigator McCracken at the Moreno Valley Sheriff’s Station at 951-486-6700.

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