Queen of Apostles Catholic Church volunteer stole thousands from church in Alexandria, police say

An Alexandria church volunteer was arrested after she was accused of taking money from the church collection.

The Fairfax County Police Department said 53-year-old Sandra Cortes of Annandale was charged with three counts of grand larceny after she stole thousands of dollars from the Queen of Apostles Catholic Church located at 4329 Sano St.

Authorities said they were contacted by the parish's office on Sept. 7 to report their suspicions that a volunteer was taking money from the weekly collection while she was counting the funds.

Detectives set up a surveillance operation on Sunday and said they watched Cortes pocket money from the church collection.

Cortes told FOX 5 over the phone that she did not steal money from the church and stated she wasn't putting money in her pocket, but was scratching her hip.

The Catholic Diocese of Arlington released a statement to FOX 5, which said in part, "The parish will continue to work with police and hopes that the accused will provide full restitution for what was taken."

Anyone with additional information that could aid detectives in their investigation was urged to call the Fairfax County Police Department's Mason District Station at (703) 256-8035.