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Burglars target churches in Pauls Valley

(KOKH)

Pauls Valley police are investigating a string of break-ins involving area churches.

Police tell FOX 25 at least three churches have been broken into over the past several weeks and right now they believe the crimes are connected.

"Basically on Sunday night or early Monday morning after church services on Sunday, they were all forced entry, a, so we believe that they are somehow related," said Pauls Valley Police Chief Mitch McGill.

The first break-in was reported at the First United Methodist Church on August 21st. Police say a safe with thousands of dollars inside was stolen. The next burglary was reported several days later at The First Church of God where thieves made of with a laptop computer. The third church to be broken into was The Christian Life Church. Pastor Neil Barlow said he saw a front window busted out, then quickly realized a slew of his church's belongings were missing.

"Our safe was stolen, the laptop that we use for our Sunday morning services was stolen, a home security system that hadn't been installed yet was taken out of my office. Then they stole some sausage and meat out of the freezer that we use for our free breakfast every Sunday morning," said Barlow.

Police Chief Mitch McGill tells FOX 25, none of the churches that were burglarized had security cameras, something McGill is now asking all churches and businesses to get.

"What we want our churches to know is alarm systems, or camera systems are always great not just to catch in the act but after the fact," he said.

McGill is also warning churches to make sure no large amounts of money or offerings are left inside their buildings.

Pastor Neil Barlow has a message for those that stole from him.

"God sent his son to die on the cross so that we could be forgiven and make better choices. So whoever it is, whatever they're going through, we pray for them and just hope that they'll wake up and realize that God loves them, and maybe come to one of these churches and find some hope."

Police have added extra patrols around churches. If you know anything you're asked to contact the Pauls Valley Police Department.

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