Police say burglars hit a church in Atwater

January 4, 2013 12:28:37 AM PST
Police say burglars stole more than a $1,000.00 worth of equipment from a church in Atwater.

The First Baptist Church in Atwater is a place where people of all ages come to worship. But a burglary here this week has the pastor feeling nothing is sacred.

Pastor Steve Shumaker said, "To me it's just a commentary where society is where somebody wants something, they feel they have the right to take it, no matter who it belongs to."

Office Manager Wendy Barros said, "The projector, they took that out of the ceiling, the speakers were on either side over here, and then the sound board was in the sound booth over there."

Barros discovered the aftermath of the burglary Wednesday afternoon. Police say the suspects took more than $1,000.00 worth of audio-visual equipment from the social hall, items used for a youth program. Someone stole similar pieces from the church around the same time last year.

"It's just frustrating because we use this for the community and to reach out to people who are in need, and to see people take advantage of that you're really taking advantage of the community," said Barros.

Staff members are now looking into extra security measures but say they don't want the property to feel like a prison.

Barros explained, "That's frustrating as well because churches are supposed to be an open and inviting place and you want people to feel welcome and comfortable, so to add extra security, it shouldn't be needed, but now I guess it is."

In the meantime, Barros hopes a shoeprint left behind on this table will help investigators catch the burglars.

Lt. Sammy Joseph said, "There were footprints discovered during the investigation, detectives are currently working the case."

And Pastor Steve Shumaker says the suspects will also have to answer to a higher power. He said, "You got guts, stealing from god because the stuff doesn't belong to anybody, it belongs to god, and it's totally dedicated to ministry, so you've got guts stealing from god."

The pastor says insurance will cover the stolen items, but anyone who wants to help the church can donate items for the bags of food it provides to families in need each month.

Anyone who has information about the burglary is urged to contact Atwater police.