Thu Sep 18 09:04:23 PDT 2014
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Church Burglaries Prompt Action from Police, Pastors
Matthew McClellan

A recent string of burglaries in the Wiregrass has targeted not homes or businesses, butt places of worship. Since the first of September, at least four churches in Southeast Alabama have burglarized. On September 15, a Dothan man was arrested on charges that he broke into the Evangelical Outreach Church" on Lafayette Street and Followers of Christ Ministry on College Street. Police say he stole several items from each church. A week before, someone broke into the Salvation Army Church in Dothan. They took three flat screen televisions, sound equipment and an air conditioning unit. It was worth a combined $10,000. Earlier in September, several hundred dollars worth of sound equipment was stolen from Pleasant Ridge United Methodist Church in Geneva County. Police say unlike private homes or businesses, churches are open to the public- making them more vulnerable to leering eyes. "A person that's sitting in the back row for a couple of weeks, you don't know if they've been casing the place or if they're saying ,'Alright we know churches have certain things.' And even if they don't have it, at least we'll go in and take a look,'" says Sergeant Mac Eggleston with Dothan Police. Sergeant Eggleston says bigger churches that are open more days of the week are at a lower risk of security issues than smaller churches that are only open on Sundays and Wednesdays. A tip for church staffs- make sure all entries to your building are secured. well lit, and highly visible from multiple sides.

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