Church reeling after burglars steal Sunday collection

THE WOODLANDS, TX At The Woodlands Christian Church on North Millbend Drive, even on a Tuesday afternoon, you can usually find someone inside the sanctuary. There is a music rehearsal, just as there was on Sunday when the church was burglarized.

"It is very unusual for a safe to be stolen from a church in broad daylight while choir practice is ongoing," said Lt. Dan Norris of the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office.

It was about 4pm and the church was filled with choir members when someone came through the front door, then broke into an interior office and stole an entire safe filled with cash, checks and credit cards. The entire Sunday collection was gone, along with cards used to pay the bills.

"The lock on the door to the office apparently is very easy to jimmy," said Woodlands Christian Church Chairman Rose Sinclair.

She says the break-in was a big shock.

"It's just kind of a wake-up call. We need to be a little more careful," said Sinclair.

Investigators say the burglar or burglars may have been there before and were probably familiar with the building because they were in and out so quickly, undetected by anyone.

"You can assume that, but we don't know that for sure," said Lt. Norris.

That's upsetting to this congregation, because part of the mission here is to help those in need.

"If they were truly in need, they really don't need to steal from us," Sinclair said.

"We pray for him or her, whoever did it, that they will find what they need," said church member Terri Thackray.

The church had not counted the collection before the burglary so they have no idea how much they lost. They've canceled the checks and credit cards, but the cash is gone.

Montgomery County Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information in this case. Anonymous tips can be made by calling 800-392-STOP.

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