Thieves set church on fire

| February 2, 2010

RALEIGH — Thieves with an arsonist bent disregarded a no trespassing sign at a Northwest Raleigh church entrance when they stole thousands of dollars worth of musical equipment this weekend and tried to set the sanctuary on fire, police reported.

No arrests have been made, and detectives are still looking for the people responsible for the crimes, according to Raleigh Police Department spokeswoman Laura Hourigan.

Police are not sure when the break-in and fire occurred because church services at the Korean First Baptist Church, a sprawling sanctuary and fellowship hall at 8905 Ray Road, were canceled because of the snow, Hourigan said.

Police were alerted about the burglary just before 11:30 a.m. Sunday and called the fire department after finding multiple fires smoldering in the carpet of the sanctuary, fire investigators reported. The bandits had poured hand sanitizer on the carpet and set it afire, Hourigan said.

Before the thieves set the fires, they stole one acoustic guitar, two electric guitars, a set of drums, a keyboard, amplifier and instrument carry cases. The haul is valued at about $11,000, Hourigan said.

The thieves entered the sanctuary by shattering two sliding glass doors at the rear of the building. They tried to crash open the glass of a third door but were unsuccessful. All three doors were covered with plywood Monday afternoon.

Hourigan said police also are looking into whether a van parked on the property that was vandalized Saturday is connected to the burglary and fire.

The church's clergy and administrators were unavailable for comment Monday.

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Category: Church Security

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