Police: Thieves hit 6 Longmont churches in 7 days

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LONGMONT, Colo. — The Bible tells us it’s a sin to steal. The law tells us it’s a crime.

So in Longmont, some thieves may face not only criminal charges, but bad karma for stealing from six churches in just seven days.

The string of crimes started April 17at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Longs Peak United Methodist, Templo El Sinai, Messiah Lutheran, Bethlehem Lutheran, and the latest one Monday night, at Central Presbyterian.

“You look for sanctuaries. And it’s hard when sanctuaries get violated,” says Rev. Mark Peterson of Bethlehem Lutheran.

In this holy place, an unholy act.

“Guess they were looking for cash and that’s what they took,” he says.

Thieves used a screw driver to pry open six office doors at Bethlehem Lutheran, and then broke into a safe.

“They beat the door out of it. Police say it took 2 hours to do that. There was a little petty cash. So they maybe got $200 to $300,” says Peterson.

“They came over here tried to open the safe here and broke off the handle,” says Rev. Kent Schnegelberger.

Two nights later, thieves broke into Messiah Lutheran.

Thankfully, they couldn’t open a safe that had about $5,000 in it from a special silent auction the night before.

“They took gift cards, $250. And they got $170 in milk money,” says Schnegelberger.

Thieves also broke into a locked closet inside a locked office at Longs Peak United Methodist and stole several thousands of dollars in gift cards.

They break into churches when no one is around–but also when people are there.

“People have seen what they and we think are suspects. They’ve encountered them in the church. They try to find out what they’re doing. They have no good reason to be there and they’re asked to leave,” says Longmont Police Sgt. Joel Post.

And at least these two churches, the thieves did something odd–which makes you think maybe they have some sense from who they’re stealing.

“I think they cleaned up after themselves. To knock the door off the safe would have made a tremendous mess and we didn’t find anything. We think they got a vacuum out and they vacuumed up the mess,” says Peterson.

It’s a place that does good for those in need, so it’s hard to understand why something bad like this could happen.

“We’re out to help people. The amount they’re getting is not worth what they doing. That’s the sadness of this whole thing,” says Schnegelberger.

“If you’re that desperate you got to rob a church. Life must be tough for something so, we’re praying for you,” says Peterson.

Police think all these burglaries were committed by the same two men—and possibly a third.

They also say some of the churches have surveillance video. So God-willing, these thieves may get theirs—by going to jail.

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