Church usher pleads not guilty to stealing from collection

Mario Condis
Posted at 10:44 AM, Dec 09, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-09 10:44:00-05

OCALA, Fla. - A north Florida church usher accused of purloining cash from the congregation's collection basket has entered a plea of not guilty.

Mario Condis entered his plea on Tuesday in an Ocala courtroom. He is charged with felony grand theft.

The 60-year-old Condis was arrested Nov. 8 after the Marion County Sheriff's Office says it collected surveillance video of him stealing. He had $350 in his pockets.

The Ocala Star-Banner reports Condis faces up to five years in prison if convicted.

Police were tipped off by two priests at Blessed Trinity Church in Ocala, who noticed Condis had been attending multiple masses each Sunday.

Deputies set up cameras, and also attended a service using bills with serial numbers they had recorded. Police say those bills were in Condis' pockets.