HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Hutchinson police are investigating the seventh vandalism at a city church since late March.
Police say windows were broken and a money box was stolen Wednesday at Trinity United Methodist Church.
Pastor Mike McGuire was he is thankful the vandals didn't do more damage or steal more items from the church.
The Hutchinson News reports that in the six previous break-ins, vandals stole several items but also caused damage to some of the churches by causing flooding or spraying fire extinguishers.
“Unfortunately churches today have to consider themselves targets like everyone else,” said Pastor Quentin Moore.
The Father's House is the fourth church vandalized in more than a month.
“These are tough times and people are looking to help themselves- and whoever's doing this-- may God's grace be on them,” said Moore.
The first happened March 28 at the Tenth Avenue United Methodist Church when someone plugged up toilets causing flooding. The second happened at Grace Episcopal. There was damage and theft there. The third happened at the Eastwood Church of Christ where vandals sprayed fire extinguishers all over the place.
Much like last week, vandals broke in through a window, but this time they didn't get very far.
The church's last break-in was about 13 years ago and church council wised up placing motion detectors all around the building.
“This room is as far as they can get. If they move outside this room all the alarms go off. Once that beeping starts then you know that you're caught,” said Moore.
It kept their most valuable possessions safe. Pastor Moore says only a window was broken and a ten dollar bill was taken this time--
“I feel fairly fortunate that the wisdom of our church council was able to see that to avoid these issues,” said Moore.
He and other pastors meet weekly and Moore hopes to set an example for other churches. In the meantime police have beefed up patrol around Hutchinson churches. While they're following up on leads, they say it's about being at the right place at the right time to make the arrest.
“If you see anyone in the vicinity of the church either in the parking lot or close to the building, call 9-1-1 immediately so we can go and talk to them. if we can be there at that right time we can make an arrest,” said Hutchinson detective Darrin Cox.