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Suspected church thief also nabbed in ’96 for stealing from nun

Target 12

JOHNSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — The suspect in the theft of four gold chalices from a Johnston church was arrested in 1996 for breaking into an elderly nun’s apartment and confronting her while she slept, Target 12 has learned.

Johnston police said David Ferrara, 63, stole four Saint Rocco’s Church chalices worth about $10,000, sometime this week.

Father Angelo Carusi said the chalices were locked in a cabinet, but he thinks Ferrara found the key in a nearby drawer.

The allegation is only the latest for Ferrara who has a substantial criminal record spanning about 40 years.

David Ferrara (Courtesy: RI’s Most Wanted)

About a quarter of the way through his rap sheet, Ferrara committed a pair of burglaries in two cities in a matter of hours, according to records reviewed by Target 12.

On the morning of July 22, 1996, Ferrara broke into a Cranston home and stole several pieces of jewelry, according to a police report.

Earlier that morning, Ferrara broke into a Huntington Towers apartment, according to Providence police. Police said he put his hand over the mouth of an 86-year- old nun, who was asleep until she saw Ferrara inside her apartment.

The Sister was treated for minor injuries after the confrontation once Ferrara ran away from the scene.

Ferrara, who also lived in Huntington Towers at the time, was arrested later that day by Providence police who found “in his possession numerous pieces of jewelry” from both burglaries.

Records show Ferrara later pleaded no contest to burglary, intimidating a witness and larceny in connection with the Huntington Towers break-in.

He also pleaded no contest to a larceny charge tied to the Cranston case.

The burglary involving the nun came up as recently as 2016, when records indicate another crime violated the conditions of Ferrara’s probation.

According to the Rhode Island Department of Corrections, a recent stint of freedom was relatively new for Ferrara, who was released from the ACI Sept. 10.

Walt Buteau ( is a Target 12 investigative reporter for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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