BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Three men who broke into Our Lady of Charity Parish in Buffalo last year and menaced a monsignor with a knife have pleaded guilty to charges of first degree robbery and first degree burglary.
On September 27, 21-year-old Daniel Bernardi, 25-year-old Duane Dalton and 32-year-old Michael Rodriguez broke into the rectory and threatened Monsignor David Lee with a knife while demanding money. The trio stole money from the church, robbed the monsignor of his money and personal property, then tied him up and fled.
Two were caught within minutes of the crime, and a third was found a few hours later at his home.
News 4 reported on the crime last year, and at the time, the family of Michael Rodriguez claimed he was innocent.
“The only reason they took my brother and my brother-in-law to jail is because he ran with them and being that they had previous charges, but like I said they’re innocent,” Carla Cruz said.
Though it was a terrifying experience, Monsignor Lee spoke during mass about the incident, telling parishoners they should pray for the burglars.
When the defendants are sentenced in May, each could face a maximum term of 25 years in state prison.