Cleveland's St. Casimir site of illegal trash dump; police investigating

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A Cleveland church is trying to figure out who dumped bags of garbage and other trash in the lot next door to the parish.

St. Casimir Church parishioners found the mess when they came to mass on Palm Sunday.

"I thought, who would do this. There's other places to do this," said Joseph Feckanin, who attends St. Casimir. "People are just lazy or they thought they could get away with it."

Now, with just days left before Easter, church members are working with police to find out who dumped the trash. Illegal dumping is a felony in Ohio, carrying a fine of up to $25,000 and up to four years in prison.

St. Casimir is a church with its own past of working to overcome challenges. In 2009, the diocese closed it, along with eleven other Cleveland parishes.

Many parishioners, including those at St. Casimir, protested the plan, and in 2012, the Vatican overturned the local decision, reopening the parish.

"The volunteers of St. Casimir Church have been working so hard to keep this parish vibrant since it reopened in 2012, from the miracle from our blessed mother," said John Niedzialek. He's a lifelong member of St. Casimir, and he says he often walks through the neighborhood, picking up garbage.

"This is what we saw on Palm Sunday," he said, pointing to the pile. "This mess."

Despite the setback, parishioners are vowing to get everything cleaned up, with the help of the Environmental Crimes Task Force. They're inviting everyone to join them for mass on Easter Sunday.

Copyright 2018 WOIO. All rights reserved.