Church director accused of stealing from thrift store, officials say

A church director is accused of stealing from a thrift, the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office said.

Jude Fontus, 37, who is listed as a director for the First Haitian Baptist Church of Orange Park, was charged with grand theft, deputies said.

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Mark Tillman, who owns Spectrum Thrift Shop, said this is the second time Fontus has tried to steal donated items.

Earlier this month, Action News Jax first aired surveillance video from the business that appears to show the same suspect stealing chairs.

Tillman said he called deputies after seeing the activity Tuesday on his cameras.

According to a police report, Fontus admitted to deputies that he was taking the donated items.

When asked about the charges, Fontus said, "No comment."

According to the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Orange Park, the building that the Haitian church uses for services was once a location of the thrift store.

Tillman said he gives many of the items donated to his store to churches, or sells them to churches at a very low price.

“If you’re a director or secretary of a church, then I would hope you would follow the laws that you’re worshipping, and I know one of those is not to steal,” Tillman said.

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