8 churches burglarized

| May 5, 2010

CULLMAN — Eight local churches were burglarized this week — with cash, electronics equipment and even a church van stolen from the local houses of worship.

The Cullman County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the rash of burglaries, which occurred at churches all over the county between 11 p.m. Monday night and early Tuesday morning.

“We had several churches on the west side of the county, the north end of the county and the northeast side of the county,” Sheriff Tyler Roden said. “These are very unusual circumstances for church burglaries, because they are normally in the same general area.”

Churches burglarized include: Mount Nebo Baptist Church, Temple Baptist Church, Vinemont Church of Christ, God’s House of Praise, Valley Springs Baptist Church, Shady Grove Baptist Church, Center Grove Baptist Church and Pleasant Grove Baptist Church.

Roden said investigators believe the thieves were likely looking for cash.

“There was some vandalism, like drawers and filing cabinets disturbed,” he said. “It appears they were looking for money … There was also some minor damage with the doors and locks being pried open, which is how they got in.”

In addition to cash; a guitar, camcorder, speakers, flat-screen TV and some food items were also taken from the churches. Approximately $4,000 worth of small items were stolen, though they weren’t the only things taken.

The church van was stolen from Center Grove Baptist Church, and found crashed and abandoned Tuesday morning outside a Valley Grove business.

“There is a business there that sells wrought iron furniture, and it looks like they rushed the van through the gate of that business,” Roden said. “When they crashed through the gate it set the burglar alarm off at that business.”

Roden said investigators believe the various thefts are connected.

The sheriff’s office does have some leads in the case, though Roden said a $1,000 reward is also being offered for any information that leads to an arrest.

“Without a doubt, we need the public’s help,” he said. “If they prefer, we can keep their name private.”

In the meantime, Roden said he would encourage county residents to keep an eye on local churches until the burglars are caught.

“We would ask people that live near churches, keep a look out for anything suspicious and be a good neighbor to the church,” he said. “For church members, take the time to swing by and check on your church — but be cautious and don’t confront anyone. If you do see something suspicious, call us and we’ll check it out.”

The Cullman County Sheriff’s Office can be reached at (256) 734-0342.



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Category: Church Security

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