'I saw the ladder. I saw the guy. I threw the ladder down, which was huge as could be, and lo and behold, they ran away,' said Sister Mary Johnice Rzadkiewicz.
Just before 7:30 am on Saturday, January 14, a 76-year-old nun heard noises from the roof after waking up early to pray. The director of Response to Love Center, Sister Mary Johnice Rzadkiewicz then went to check outside. "I opened the door and there was the ladder right in front of my doorway", she said. Speaking to the Buffalo News about the incident, she said that she told the thieves, "Get out of here, this is God’s mission. What are you doing to his property?'" She added, "I saw the ladder. I saw the guy. I threw the ladder down, which was huge as could be, and lo and behold, they ran away." The images of the suspected burglars were extracted from the surveillance footage where they can be seen attempting to steal pipes and downspouts off the roof of the east Buffalo building
Don’t mess with Sister Johnice. 👊 https://t.co/3RykDoQoOR— Kimberly LaRussa (@KimberlyLaRussa) January 19, 2023
Sister Johnice recalled the evil deed saying, “When I knocked the ladder down, I heard them yell ‘somebody's there run!’ And one went one way and one went the other way, and I went through the building down to see where the fellow went.'" Sister Johnice added that either of them could've been desperate or broke due to the nature of their burglary. "They could have come here for food or clothing. They could have come for a kind word, some guidance, but they chose a different route," she said. "That is not of God, that is evil. I just wish I could meet them," she added. Mike Gilhooly, the assistant director of the Center, called Sister Johnice a "tough cookie", when he arrived on the scene to make sure everything was alright.
However, the ladder was taken down by Sister Johnice. The crooks jumped off the roof while Sister Johnice prayed that they did not injure themselves. The center, a faith-based charity that assists the impoverished in Buffalo, shared images from the security footage on Facebook. "Do you recognize these two? This Saturday morning these two morons decided to climb up on the building at Response to Love Center to strip our building of our gutters and downspouts to make a few bucks at the scrap yard, thinking our downspouts are made of copper," the post read. "Meanwhile Sister Johnice hollered and kicked out the ladder from under them and commandeered the ladder. She’s one tough cookie," the post added. The police are looking into this attempted burglary and are in touch with the Centre.
“We put it on Facebook immediately and we have a very good Facebook following and we've got an awful lot of response from people,” noted Gilhooly. The Centre believes the thieves were about to steal copper on the roof. “I was afraid it would have hit Sister in the head. She's not trained in how to handle a ladder and do these sorts of things, but I think she couldn't have done anything better,” said Gihooly. Sister Johnice will be keeping the ladder which she has called "Jacob's ladder", in honor of the biblical account of Jacob's dream about a ladder connecting heaven and earth. She also claimed that the center never had a ladder that was big enough to reach the roof.
Response to Love Center’s Sister Mary Johnice shows us the ladder she pushed off the side of her building Saturday morning to thwart off two thieves trying to remove metal from the center’s roof. @WKBW pic.twitter.com/JCGSgHwNAs— Eileen Buckley (@eileenwkbw) January 16, 2023
“You know it's only gutters — it's only pipes, but what if it's life? But God does not want this to be a battlefield for people a fearful place. I've been here since 1985 and it never happened. How dare they do this — I work for God. It's his mission," Sister Johnice said, adding, "Every day I've been praying for these two thugs."