Series Of Church Burglaries Have East Texans On Alert - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

3/21/06-Upshur County

Series Of Church Burglaries Have East Texans On Alert

A series of church burglaries has East Texans on alert. In the past two months, three different counties have reported a total of nine church burglaries. Six break-ins happened in Upshur County. The majority of these were baptist churches. The burglars are taking mostly electronic equipment, but one church lost something it had been working toward for more than a year.

Last year, Oak Grove Church, started raising money to send it's children on a trip of their choice.

"Each Sunday morning we set it out for kids as well as adults to put change in it money, empty pockets for the kids," said Pastor Jerry Jeter. A year later, the small church of about 40 members had raised $1,500.00. One Sunday morning, it was gone.

"We had a five gallon money jug, and they took the money jug," said Pastor Jeter. That's not all the burglars took. They stole speakers and the churches PA system.

"We just never assumed that someone would come in and take from us. We are just a church trying to grow and just never assumed someone would come in and take what you work hard for," said Pastor Jeter. That morning, Pastor Jeter was going to talk about repentance, but the congregation was upset. To calm them down, he talked about forgiveness.

"It's a hurtful thing knowing people don't fear God, but we have to have that God like spirit to forget, forgive and move on," said Pastor Jeter. Church members say the break in has made them stronger.

"It's brought us closer together," said Preston Youman. "It really has. Even though our loss was great. We are still getting closer." The Upshur County Sheriff's Department is asking area churches to record the serial numbers of any item that could be targeted. There are no suspects as this time. If you have any information, call the Upshur County Sheriff's Department.

Molly Reuter, reporting. mreuter@kltv.com

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