Churches targeted by thieves for electronics, cash

RCMP explores possible connection between break-ins at Houston and Burns Lake churches

Houston Fellowship Baptist Church file photo

The Burns Lake Community Church had a break-in last month following break-ins at two Houston churches.

The break-in at the Burns Lake Church had a similar modus operandi according to the police.

The burglars ransacked the place, took Pastor John Neufeld’s computer and monitor, a laptop, two LCD projectors and a portable amplifier.

The church’s offering box was also hacked and cash from inside was taken. The church located at 530 Kerr Road was broken into between Mar. 22 and 23, just days after the Houston break-ins.

“It’s not a major setback, but it is disheartening to experience such a thing, and extra sad to hear of other churches being targeted,” said Neufeld.

The Houston Christian Reformed Church was broken into between Feb. 28 and Mar. 2 while the Houston Fellowship Baptist Church was broken into between Mar. 10 and Mar. 12.

While nothing was stolen at the Houston Christian Reformed Church, more than $40,000 worth of electronic equipment was stolen from the Houston Fellowship Baptist Church.

According to both Sgt. Mark Smaill, the officer in charge of the Houston RCMP detachment and Sgt. Shaunna Lewis of the Burns Lake RCMP, the possibility of a connection between the break and enters in both communities is being explored as similar tactics were used and similar property was stolen at the churches in both communities.

Smaill also said it was concerning that someone was breaking into churches, places that rely on donations.

Neighbouring detachments have also been informed and the RCMP are now asking the public in all Highway 16 communities to keep an eye on their urban and rural churches, which may have become a target for criminals.

The Smithers RCMP can be contacted at 250-847-3233 and the Crime Stoppers number is 800-222-8477.

– with files from Rod Link