Churches evaluating open-door policies

| December 11, 2011

A string of burglaries targeting local churches may have been more of a coincidence than a strategic plan, but law enforcement said the crimes indicate that thieves will target anyone to steal a buck.

Five churches have been burglarized in Auburn along with two others in Cayuga County within the past year, with religious relics or antiques stolen from two of them. A sterling silver ciborium, ewer and Tiffany & Co tea set were taken from The Episcopal Church of SS. Peter and John in Auburn and two gold ciboria were stolen from Sacred Heart Church in Owasco.

Cayuga County Sheriff David Gould said it’s not clear if the burglaries are a new trend or a coincidence since some occurred in conjunction with other break-ins targeting neighboring businesses.

“I truly don’t know why these churches were burglarized,” Gould said. “We had two in the county and solved one. I don’t know if they are looking for precious metals to scrap or if they think churches are easy targets.

“Burglaries are bad enough, but burglarizing a church of faith — and I go to church every Sunday — it’s absolutely the lowest thing people can do.”

Deputies charged David Calkins, 21, of 82 Havens Ave., and Daniel Edersheim, 20, of 54 Adams Ave., both of Auburn, with burglary for stealing two gold ciboria from Sacred Heart Church the last week of August. Investigators said it appeared the men may have stolen the objects to sell as scrap and do not belief the theft is related to similar incidents reported in Auburn.

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Category: Church Security

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