Thieves steal Easter offering

| April 6, 2010

GRAND ISLAND — Nonbelievers ordinarily would be welcome off the streets into the Grand Island Baptist Church. But for repentance and worship, not to burglarize it.

Thieves allegedly took off with Easter Sunday's offerings from the County Road 44 church sometime after the day's two services, according to the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

The Rev. Don Freezor said a church accountant discovered the collections missing from the safe early Monday morning.

It's not clear how much money was taken, but the pastor said the Easter Day services of 400 people was a lot larger than the church's typical Sunday congregation.

With a somber expression on his face, Freezor attributed the break-in to a spiraling economy.

"It would be easy to call him a loser, but there are a lot of people hurting now," said the Rev. Don Freezor, sitting inside the church's office building Monday morning. "But I would hope he would see the errors of his ways."

The church is in Grand Island, between Tavares and Leesburg. Sgt. James Vachon, spokesman for the Lake County Sheriff's Office, said at least two of the moneybags were discovered by residents Monday morning along Dora Avenue in Tavares between Druid and Smith streets.

The checks were still in them, but the cash was missing.

Vachon said no property other than the money was taken. He said detectives are working the crime and bloodhounds were used to track for evidence.

The thieves apparently entered the double doors through the fellowship hall.

"This is not the kind of news we wanted to hear after a great day of worshipping the Lord," Freezor said.

Freezor said the church's collections is typically used to help support the church ministries and local missionaries — and he's optimistic the Lord would find a way to replace the money.

This is not the first time thieves have taken off with the church's offerings. A break-in happened shortly after Christmas church services there. But that time, the checks were left scattered over CR 44.

Freezor added his church is always open for people to repent, and he hopes the suspects can gain a positive lesson from the sin.

"I'm hoping he will get to know Jesus and know what God is about," he said.

Freezor said the church has also learned from the theft, adding they would no longer keep the collections overnight in the building.

Anyone with information on this crime is encouraged to contact the Lake County Sheriff's Office at (352) 343-9529 or CRIMELINE at 1-800-423-TIPS.

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Category: Church Security