A couple of unholy, intoxicated churchgoers - high on booze and drugs - crashed a Midnight Mass in Drexel Hill on Christmas Eve when they stumbled down the aisle, fondled each other in a pew and flushed drugs down the church toilet, police said.
Authorities believe that Alexander Pirone, 21, and Catherine McGrath, 24, planned to hide in the restroom until after the building was locked up for the night so that they could burglarize the church, but a cop and an EMT at the Mass thwarted them, said Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood.
Pirone and McGrath burst into St. Charles Borromeo Church, at Burmont Road and Dennison Avenue, and stumbled down the aisle shortly after the Mass began, police said. Officer Samuel Sproull, who was on duty at the time and attending the Mass, saw them come in and saw that they were "whacked out," Chitwood said.
"At one point in time, they were fondling one another in the pew to the point where a couple of the churchgoers had to tell them to stop acting like morons," Chitwood said. "They had to tell them that they were there to worship and pray, and stop making a spectacle of themselves."
When Mass was over, Sproull decided to wait for the couple outside the church, but they never came out, Chitwood said. As the parish priest was about to lock up the church for the night, an EMT worker who also attended the service told Sproull that he had seen the couple go downstairs but had not seen them return, police said.
Sproull went downstairs and found Pirone sitting on the steps and McGrath locked in the bathroom, flushing the toilet, Chitwood said. When he was able to get the restroom door open, Sproull found four small plastic bags in the toilet that typically are used to hold heroin, Chitwood said. A search of McGrath turned up a plastic vial with several bags of heroin in it and 43 pills. A search of Pirone turned up numerous pills and narcotics, Chitwood said.
Sproull also noted that both Pirone, of Clifton Heights, and McGrath, of Springfield, smelled of alcohol at the time, he said.
McGrath and Pirone, both of whom have a history of drug offenses, were arrested and charged with narcotics violations and public drunkenness, police said. They remain in prison in lieu of $30,000 and $20,000 bail, respectively, police said.
"They were looking for a problem," Chitwood said. "Well, both are still in jail, so Merry Christmas to them."