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PRIEST ACCUSED IN CHURCH THEFT MAY NOT HAVE BEEN A CLERIC

A priest who may not have been a priest after all allegedly vanished with $37,000 of parishioners' money.

Brendan O'Keefe, 55, was last seen sometime before Oct. 1, when parishioners arrived for morning services and found St. Michael's Chapel deserted, police said.

Parishioners said O'Keefe ran off with $27,000 in checks and about $10,000 worth of South American gold coins.

The church cannot find proof that O'Keefe was ever ordained a Roman Catholic priest, board member Johanna Orlowski said Thursday.

Ms. Orlowski said O'Keefe's behavior and attendance had been erratic since he arrived at St. Michael's in 1993.

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