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Police Investigate String Of Church Burglaries

Last updated on Tuesday, June 5, 2012

(JOHNSON COUNTY) - A rash of burglaries in Johnson County has church leaders on alert and authorities on the lookout for a person of interest.

New Life Baptist Church in Franklin was the latest church to be hit, and member Lorene Sanders said she found the front door unlocked last week when she showed up to clean the sanctuary.

"It's a church, but people don't respect that anymore," Sanders said. "I thought the pastor unlocked it knowing we were going to clean. We just thought maybe the kids from Wednesday had opened it. We didn't think about nobody breaking in."

Police said someone used a crowbar to pry open the church's side door. Once inside, thieves broke into an office and took $100 from a collection box, RTV6's Stacia Matthews reported.

The Rev. Rick Henry said the money was collected from a Bible class to help the less fortunate.

"If these folks had come to us, we would have done our best to be of help to them," Henry said. "Nowhere is sacred anymore to these thieves."

Sheriff Doug Cox said thieves have burglarized a string of Johnson County churches, ransacking some for cash, musical instruments and electronics.

"The way these people get caught is by homeowners or neighbors calling in something that just doesn't look right," Cox said.

Despite the theft, Sanders said the congregation is keeping its spirits high.

"Our pastor asked us to pray for (the thieves) because he said that was a sin for them to break into churches," Sanders said. "Somewhere this is going to catch up with them and their lives are going to be wasted in this case for under $100."

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