Alexandria church volunteer accused of stealing money from collection

WASHINGTON — A volunteer at an Alexandria church is facing larceny charges after police say she stole several thousand dollars from the weekly collection.

On Sunday, police arrested Sandra Irene Cortes, 53, of Annandale, after an investigation found she was pocketing money from the church collection at the Queen of Apostles Church, at 4329 Sano St., in Alexandria. Cortes, who volunteered at the church, was taking the money from the collection while she was counting it, police said.

After a church employee told police the church suspected Cortes was stealing, detectives set up a surveillance operation and saw her take money from the collection plate during her volunteer duties.

Cortes is charged with three counts of grand larceny — a theft of anything more than $200. She is being held at the Adult Detention Center.

Police are working to determine just how many times Cortes might have taken money from the church, said Fairfax County police spokeswoman Courtney Young.

The church is also examining how much money it may be missing, although police say it is several thousand dollars.

Police are asking anyone with more information about Cortes, or know of any other capacities in which she volunteers, to call them at 703-256-8035.

“Since the investigation is still ongoing, we want to know if she was involved in any other organization or anything like that,” Young said.

Sarah Beth Hensley

Sarah Beth Hensley is the Digital News Director at WTOP. She has worked several different roles since she began with WTOP in 2013 and has contributed to award-winning stories and coverage on the website.

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