Attempted church burglary caught on tape

October 19, 2011 3:07:42 AM PDT
One church, two burglaries and another attempted break-in. Now, the congregation is hoping a piece of video will help find the latest criminal.

As if the steeple didn't already give it away, the sign "You are now entering holy ground" makes it obvious, at least for most people.

"Oh, that don't mean anything to him," said Pastor Lionel Parker Jr. with the Greater New Grove Christian Worship Center Church.

Parker Jr. is surprised by someone who can target such a place.

"If he would have come here and needed anything, we would have been more than happy to help him," he said.

Sometime early Tuesday morning, a security camera captured the would-be burglar covering his face with his shirt before he smashed it out with bolt cutters. What he didn't count on was a second one. From the video, you can get a good look at the guy and his attempt to get inside. First he breaks the camera, then the motion light. And when the alarm sounds, he takes off, and fortunately, without any of the church's electronics.

"That would have been very costly," Parker Jr. said.

And Pastor Parker knows all about costly losses.

"To do that on church grounds, it just shows that they have no fear of God whatsoever," he told Eyewitness News five years ago after the church's second burglary, which also was caught on camera.

During that break-in, the burglar crawled into the top of an eight-foot cage and stole copper and coiling from two air conditioning units. Now, $25,000 later in replacements and additional security, Parker is totaling up the latest breach.

"That's money that we could use to help the community," he said.

Instead there are repairs to be made and Parker hopes this man reconsiders the path he's on.

"I believe there is always a chance for someone to be saved," he said. "They don't have to do what they're doing. There is a better way and there is hope."

In all, the attempted break-in caused about $1,000 in damage to the lights, the damaged surveillance camera as well as the back door.

The church is offering a reward to anyone who has information to lead to an arrest.

The pastor says they're forgiving but they also feel like the man should be punished.


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