Churches, nonprofits see rise in thefts

| October 2, 2010

CONYERS — One local pastor who had his church burglarized earlier this week thought the community should take notice — that the signal from criminals is that “nothing is off limits.”

Michael Loyd is the pastor of The Fellowship of Jesus Christ Church Inc., located at 1581 Lester Road off Sigman Road. The pastor arrived at church Tuesday evening to find the door to the church’s youth room forced open and the electronics missing.

Thieves made away with a 31-inch TV, a DVD player, a five-disc CD player, a microwave and a mini refrigerator. The cost to replace the electronics and repair the door frame is estimated at $2,000.

Loyd pointed to the recent break-ins at Rockdale Cares Inc., a nonprofit that runs an adult day program for the developmentally challenged, and Helping Hands Outreach, a free health clinic. Rockdale Cares was hit twice this year by burglars who took a TV on one occasion and air conditioning units in the other instance that caused about $10,000 in damages. Helping Hands was the most recent break-in that occurred in August, where thieves took a laptop and flash drives that contained records and other important information for running the clinic.

“When you break in a nonprofit organization … what you’re showing is you have no remorse, no morals for anywhere,” Loyd said.

Churches and nonprofit organizations provide a needed service in the community and Loyd said he would think thieves would know better than to steal from a church.

“Why do you want to tear up something that you use?” Loyd said. “That doesn’t make any sense to me … someone in your family, even you, may need to go there to ask for help.”

Loyd admitted that the weak economy likely has a bearing on the recent uptick in nonprofit burglaries. But he does not think it is an excuse.

“People are desperate, but this is not the answer,” Loyd said.

Thieves run the risk of getting caught and serving jail time when they commit burglaries. And Loyd said the risk really is not worth it in the long run.

“That energy that they’re transferring to (steal), they can use that same energy to try to get a job so you can buy whatever you want,” Loyd said.

Loyd suspected the burglary happened Monday night and that there was more than one thief to haul off all the stolen items.

Loyd said the church reported the burglary to authorities and the incident remains under investigation by the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office.

 

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