PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — What happened here at Concord Presbyterian Church on Brownsville Road on Christmas Eve was not what you would call a silent night.
“They said ‘Pittsburgh P.D.’ – you know – ‘Get on the ground.’ They both had guns – one from each side – one came from the front, one came from the side,” Matt Plucinski said.
The police officers were after two suspects.
Plucinski was in from New York visiting family attending the service. The congregation had already spotted a couple of guys coming in late who didn’t quite fit in.
“I think it was shortly after the service started these two guys that weren’t really dressed for church – they actually had hoods on – they came in,” he said.
Earlier police responded to a robbery at a BP station a block from the church. A man walked in, grabbed four cartons of cigarettes and ran.
Tracking footprints in the snow, the officers arrived at the church where they found a discarded pair of sweatpants and a blue hoodie. Those clothes were positively identified by BP clerks as the suspects.
Then dispatch got a call from inside the church from a nervous congregant describing the two suspicious-looking guys, saying one might have a weapon.
Concerned about a potential hostage situation, officers decided to act immediately. The men in hoodies offered no resistance.
Taking the suspects outside, police patted them down and didn’t find any weapons. The BP clerks did not recognize them and the men were released.
It’s not clear why the guys in hoodies were at a Presbyterian Church when they told police they were looking for a Catholic Mass, although, reportedly alcohol may have been involved.
The cigarette thief is still at large.