INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Police are looking for the people who burglarized two churches on the city's far east side over the weekend.
They haven't said if the crimes are related.
Police reports show Gethsemane Lutheran Church at 6810 East 10th Street was burglarized Saturday evening.
Ben Smith, the assistant pastor at First Bible Church, says the suspects got in sometime between Friday evening and Saturday morning.
The church is located on North Ritter near 21st Street.
“We think they just drove down this field here, and came in. They smashed this window out, then they crawled through,” Smith said. “There was glass everywhere inside.”
Smith says he believes there was more than one person, and they went through every room in the church.
“They either kicked this door in, or busted it, there are marks down here,” explained Smith, showing a busted door to an office.
He says the burglars found a giant bucket full of change, that had been saved for four months by kids in the parish to save for a gym.
“This was probably three-quarters full of change that the kids had been raising; they stole all of this money,” Smith said there was about $500 in the bucket.
Also contributing to that bucket, Smith says many of the children they pick up by bus, to bring to church. Smith says they don’t have much at all, but they’ve all contributed to help raise money for a place to play.
“Sundays and Tuesdays, the kids drop off money inside that bucket. They’re just raising money to try to better the community, and that's what we get,” Smith said. “To have all that taken from them is very frustrating.”
He says the suspects also took a giant safe, weighing about 300 pounds.
He says there was a little victory in the fact they took that.
“We were trying to get rid of the safe, but nobody wanted to take it home, and we couldn’t lift it up to put it in the dumpster, so they kind of did us a favor doing that,” he said.
But they broke the front door to get the safe out, and Smith estimates they’re left with likely $10,000 in damage and repairs.
They weren’t the only church hit over the weekend.
According to a police report, a burglar ransacked Gethsemane Lutheran Church around 8 p.m. Saturday.
A member of the church found him, and asked him what he was doing.
He replied, “I’m getting out of here,” and dove out the window of the sanctuary.
Police reports show the man got away with canned goods and a typewriter there.
“This isn’t going to get us down, we’re going to keep fighting, keep on pressing on,” he said. “It’s one small step backwards, and lots of big steps moving forward.”
First Bible Church is still about $25,000 into their $200,000 goal to build the gym on their property. Anyone with information was asked to call Crimestoppers at 262-TIPS.
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