No sacred sanctuary: Church thefts rattle worshippers


“As they’re strolling by, they’re tapping on all the coats to see if something is in there,” the Rev. Daniel Voth stated of video displaying the offender strolling down Immanuel’s hallway.

Locations like church buildings may be simply accessed by perpetrators, Grand Forks Police Lt. Derik Zimmel stated. Calling them “crimes of alternative,” Zimmel stated thieves typically look to commit crimes which might be fast to tug off with a low danger of being caught.

That features strolling as much as automobiles and pulling on the door deal with to see if they’re open, however others get extra artistic once they cannot discover unlocked automobiles.

Zimmel in contrast the church thefts to a report of thefts involving suspects going by means of health club lockers and on the lookout for car keys. Even when the automotive is locked, an individual wants keys to get again right into a car. If the keys are in a locker that isn’t locked, a suspect can seize the keys and press the important thing fob till the matching automotive prompts.

“It is a totally different day and age we reside in proper now,” Zimmel stated. “There are not any locations which are sacred sanctuaries.”

It was the primary time Immanuel had been focused by a thief, who made off with a minimum of a telephone, Voth stated. Consequently the church put in a locking system that opens at its discretion. The church is contemplating additional safety measures, together with having an individual watch the halls.

Voth additionally visited different church buildings to warn them of the incident. Positive sufficient, somebody went by means of a number of pockets that spring at Grace Baptist Church, which is throughout the road north of St. Mark’s.

The perpetrator entered Peggy Zavoral’s automotive, wanting by means of the East Grand Forks resident’s mail. The suspect took a telephone belonging to Zavoral’s husband, a key fob, home keys and a Bible belonging to her late father, she stated.

“That was a priceless merchandise that they took from me,” she stated of the Bible.

The church now has individuals strolling by way of the halls to maintain an eye fixed out for suspicious exercise.

The newest of church thefts occurred Sunday, when a Caucasian lady in her mid-30s went into St. Mark’s coat room to tug out “a few distant starters,” based on a Fb publish by the Grand Forks Police Division. The suspect opened at the least one car within the church’s parking zone and took a number of gadgets.

The lady in that case is described as being heavyset with reddish-brown hair. She was driving a purple car, in response to the submit.

Congregations throughout the nation try to reply questions on how you can keep open to all whereas sustaining safety…



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