Houston pastor recalls wild run-in with thief

January 27, 2013 3:44:05 PM PST
Leaders of a southwest Houston church are looking into beefing up security after their building was broken into this weekend.

The items stolen have been returned and at least one suspect is in custody, thanks in part to the church's pastor and members.

Getting ready for Sunday church services, Templo La Hermosa Elim Pastor Franklyn Peraza was thinking back to how his weekend started -- a wild Friday night that began with a call from the alarm company.

"I decided to come in with my wife, and I called another member of the church because they live in the area," Peraza said.

The church is located in the 6200 block of Willowbend between Fondren and Hillcroft in southwest Houston. Police had trouble finding the address, so the church members were on their own.

They found a hole in the church's wall, and a man lurking in Peraza's office.

"I called from here the police, 911, saying 'something happened please come quick, the suspect is inside,'" Peraza said.

Peraza and the others held the door closed. Meanwhile, the suspect tried to escape through the crawlspace above the ceiling, but fell into the sanctuary.

Peraza said the man tried to run, but two men from his church restrained him until officers arrived.

"My wife and another lady, they find an electric cord and they tied the hand and the foot, and then the police came," Peraza said.

According to Peraza, burglars broke into the church just two weeks ago, taking two musical instruments.

"I feel really sad," parishioner Flor Saravia said. "It's heartbreaking to me that someone just doesn't respect God's stuff."

This time, police recovered several amplifiers and speakers a few blocks away. They told Peraza there may have been two suspects.

Peraza is now looking into a putting a fence around the church.

The suspect arrested at the church Friday was taken to an area hospital after he said he didn't feel well. He was critical Saturday, but there is no update on his condition at this time.

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