COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (CBS4) – Thieves stole more than $30,000 worth of belongings in a trailer used for community outreach.
The trailer disappeared over the weekend from the future site of the Landing Place Church on Chambers Road near 114th Avenue.
The non-denominational group currently gathers to worship at a charter school in Commerce City. They plan to break ground on their lot to build a new facility in spring.
The theft of their outreach materials has put a temporary halt on the church’s mission to bring people together.
“We want to be part of breaking down those barriers that divide people,” said Mark Hardacre, Landing Place Church’s lead pastor.
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Ten years after Hardacre started the organization, it has grown to around 1,500 members who come from all over the Denver Metro area.
The 14-foot utility trailer was packed with a variety of outreach equipment, from a giant screen for family movie nights to a bouncy castle, tents and an obstacle course for kids.
“About half that cost will be covered by insurance. And we’re going to have to make up the rest,” Hardacre told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia.
Making up the cost will affect not only church members but also the hundreds of community members that it serves at six big events each year that are open to everyone.
The damaging loss touched on a recent topic learned in the church sermon.
“Right now, we’re practicing mercy; how to forgive people that do bad things to you. And so, like Pastor Mark said, maybe this is a little test from God,” said Steve Davis, lead security for the church.
“We think it’s an opportunity to respond differently, and to respond better than the average person would,” Hardacre explained.
Despite the loss, church outreach will go on, Davis said. “We may be punched in the gut, so to speak, but that won’t stop us.”
Calls of support have flooded in to the church office.
Davis was asking for the public’s eyes and ears to help catch the crook.
“We’re a very forgiving church. And whoever has our trailer or has our equipment, we just want it back,” Davis said.
The Landing Place Church’s upcoming outreach event, Trunk or Treat, a safe Halloween activity for children and their families, will be held on Sunday, October 29 from 5-7pm at Reunion Recreation Center.
Hardacre said another church offered to lend its equipment for the event.