Burglars target student ministry group on a mission - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Burglars target student ministry group on a mission

By Courtney Lane - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Some Tyler Junior College students are calling it the "spring break-in of 2010."

The Wesley Foundation, a Methodist-based ministry at TJC, says they have been broken into twice in the last month. What is worse? Students are in the middle of organizing a benefit to help church families victimized by arsonists.

The foundation's director, Sunny Farley, showed us where burglars used a rock to break into her office.

"They took all the musical instruments," said Farley. "They took our microwave oven. They broke our flat screen TV. They took our game systems."

They even took time to dig through a change jar - coins students had collected for Haiti earthquake victims.

"It wasn't a lot of money but it's just the idea that someone would steal from poor folks in another place," said Farley.

The thieves also took about $4,000 worth of musical equipment.

"The shame of it too is a lot of those instruments were personal instruments that belonged to students who come together and do praise bands and our insurance policy won't cover that," said Farley.

One of the student victims is Brad Stenberg, who discovered the theft. He came in over Spring Break to get his $800 bass guitar.

"I pretty much felt like screaming as soon as I saw that it was gone," said Stenberg.

His case is all that is left. Tyler police are waiting for a break in the case.

"All the instruments and stuff that were stolen, we're again, we're trying to trace those down," said Officer Don Martin, with Tyler PD. "They haven't turned up anywhere yet."

The Wesley Foundation's fund raisers, like helping burned churches rebuild, are now set back a little.

"We've asked ourselves, 'Why would somebody do harm to somebody who's trying to do so much good in the world?'" said Farley. "But I guess nobody is exempt."

Farley says they have forgiven the burglars in their hearts, and pray they will get the help they need.

"Because we're here to help," said Farley. "If there's anything we can do to help people in this community, we're going to try our hardest to do it so hopefully they'll come around and have a life changing experience in the aftermath of having done this."

The Wesley students are moving forward with their benefit to help the East Texas churches destroyed by arsonists. They will host an art exhibition next month. Click here to learn more.

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