Worshippers at one beloved church in Reading are still in shock after a grinch broke into their church and stole their Christmas presents.

The heartless crime happened on Christmas Eve at the Christ Church Episcopal on 5th and Court Street in Reading, just as the congregation was preparing for midnight mass to ring in the Christmas holiday.

The basement window, partially boarded up, is a sad reminder of a criminal's evil deed.

Father John Francis says he couldn't believe someone would vandalize a place of worship.

"These are tough windows to get through. They're supposed to be impossible, but he blew right through the window," said Father Francis.

Once inside, the grinch stole the gifts that were waiting for choir members who worked so hard on their Christmas carols.

"They were nice Christmas gifts. They were wrapped with bows, on top of the piano, all ready for the choir members," said Father Francis. "It's scary. You're frightened. It's shocking. You're upset."

When the evil-doer was gone, Father Francis says he left behind a broken bottle with beer in it.

But Francis says he doesn't see this grinch as a criminal.

In fact, he changed his sermon at the very last minute and bravely urged his congregation to show this thief not fury but forgiveness.

"So let's not be angry, let's not be upset, let's think, let's thank God for all that we have, and then pray for this fella," said Francis.

That broken window was replaced, and Father Francis says bars will be put on the lower windows of the church just in case another criminal decides to break that commandment of thou shalt not steal.