A recently retired Catholic priest lived the high life - gambling and buying fancy cars and handguns - by skimming at least $1.5 million over 26 years from donations to two churches, authorities say.

The Rev. Walter J. Benz and Mary Anne Albaugh, parish secretary at his last church, will be charged with theft and conspiracy within two weeks, Allegheny County Police Inspector Daniel Colaizzi said Tuesday.Until last week, Benz lived with Albaugh and her teenage son in a house packed with antique guns and furniture, gold coins and a 2-foot Buddha statue, Colaizzi said. Police believe that nearly all the items were bought with stolen church offerings.

Church money was spent on items including luxury sedans, statuettes and 27 fancy handguns, while some was gambled away in Atlantic City, N.J., police said.