NEW ORLEANS -- A Catholic priest in New Orleans East fell victim to the sins of others this Christmas Eve. The golf cart that he uses to get around the property of his church was stolen during Mass.
"We have a big facility. It's been very helpful to have that to run from one corner to another corner," said Father Michael Joseph Vin Nguyen, pastor of Resurrection of Our Lord Church.
He has been having a tougher time getting around these days, because of problems with his knees. So, a friend gave him the golf cart. He's known for riding it around the grounds of the church. In fact, Nguyen lets members of the youth choir ride in it after Mass.
“I just park the golf cart in front of the church and I can see it from my chair, doing the Mass sitting there,” Nguyen said.
On Christmas Eve, he parked it in its usual spot, with the keys in it.
“I didn't see any problem, didn't anticipate that somebody would come for Mass and during the Mass, you know, would steal the golf cart,” Nguyen said.
But they did, some time during the 7 p.m. Mass.
“Some parishioner was leaving the church and saw two young Vietnamese guys driving the golf cart,” Nguyen said.
The golf cart apparently made it all the way to the intersection of Read and Bullard. That's where another member of the Vietnamese community said they saw a golf cart being towed away by a tow truck.
So far, they've received no leads about which towing company may have picked it up or where the cart might be.
Nguyen said it has stains on the seat from where kids sprayed silly string on the cart, and a special towing hitch to carry things around in a little choo choo train-type trailer during events
“I have a Louisville, Kentucky slugger [baseball bat]. I kept that in my office for seven years. And I say this is my souvenir from Katrina. And that day, for some reason, I put it on the back of my golf cart. And it's gone,” he said.
It was a big "bah-humbug" on what should've been a one of the holiest nights of the year.
Nguyen said he tried to call 911 to report the theft several times and was not able to get through that night. He said a parishioner did get through, also after several tries. Police dispatchers told him to file a report the next day, so he did at the 7th District Police Station.
The 911 Communication District Director said his analyst wasn't in Monday, and he couldn't verify why they may have had a problem on Dec. 24.