(FRANKLIN) - As the investigation continues into a string of church burglaries in Johnson County, the Sheriff's Department says it plans to send its investigators into the churches themselves.
John La Berge of WISH TV reports that someone has burglarized 16 churches in Johnson County in the span of only a few weeks. Police said they have never seen anything like this before, and they plan to step up patrols both outside and inside churches.
Surveillance video from outside a Morgan County church Sunday is the only lead authorities have to go on following a string of church burglaries. Sheriff Doug Cox said several departments are working together to crack the case. He said there is no rhyme or reason when it comes to which churches are targeted.
"I suspect it's no different then the residential burglaries. We have probably have several different groups that are out hitting us, so about the time we get one group off the street there is always going to be another group out there to take their place," he said.
In addition to increasing patrols near churches, sheriff's deputies will now sit inside in some churches across Johnson County waiting for someone to break in.
Pastor William Horner's Tabernacle Christian Church in Franklin hasn't been targeted. He said his church is under constant surveillance, but he believes - like most church leaders 24-Hour News 8 talked to - that there is very little they can do.
"The bottom line is the police cannot be here 24/7, we are not here 24/7. If somebody wants to kick a door in and get in, I think they will get in," he said.
Several of the pastors we spoke with told us it is too expensive for them to add any extra security measures.
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