updated 12/26/2006 12:02:07 AM ET 2006-12-26T05:02:07

Two grinches spoiled Christmas Day for a church, robbing the safe of more than $20,000 in donations for needy children, police said.

The pastor at St. Mel’s Roman Catholic Church in Queens said he believed the two men knew where they were going when they broke in through the back door and stole between $20,000 and $30,000 after morning Mass.

“It was done while the people were in the building,” the Rev. Christopher J. Turczany said.

When church employees left the back area where the safe was located, the money box was removed from the safe, he said.

A parishioner saw the crooks flee with the cash in a sports utility vehicle. No arrests had been made as of Monday evening.

“I couldn’t think of anyone who would do this, especially rob a church, especially on Christmas Day,” said the parishioner, Christopher Urena.

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