FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – Fort Collins police say at least three churches have been burglarized in recent weeks, but no suspects have been identified.
Police are now asking for the public’s help in solving the crimes, and pastors are considering ways to keep their buildings and congregations safe.
David Niquette, pastor of Christ Center Community Church at 2700 South Lemay Avenue, believes whomever broke into his church must have known what was inside the building.
It happened in the early hours of July 14. After busting through a grate outside, the suspect or possible suspects climbed a ladder down into the boiler room.
When they reached locked doors inside, they grabbed a nearby chair, climbed through the ceiling tiles and got to offices on the other side. Once inside, they used a rod to shatter an office window and stole more than $300 in cash.
“I hope I’m preaching to him this Sunday. Maybe they’re out there,” Niquette said. “We did feel the sense of awkwardness and violation.”
The thief, or thieves, did thousands of dollars of damage to Christ Center.
“They did destroy a cash register in the process. $40 was in it and it will take $350 to replace it,” Niquette said.
“If they are caught, that would be a big blessing to them, and we would certainly show them grace.”
Two days earlier and less than two miles away an unknown suspect on a bike broke into one of the sheds at LifePointe Church on 900 East Prospect Road.
Despite a nearby security camera, the suspect took a pair of shovels and a rake.
“He was actually on his bike and had a rod and went up under the lock and wrenched it off,” said Steve Paxton, LifePointe Church’s executive pastor.
Since the crime, Paxton’s church has put up a sign notifying potential criminals that the area is under video surveillance.
“Now that the horse is out of the barn door, you find ways to lock up the door better,” he said.
A different church was also burglarized on the 600 block of East Drake Road recently.
Fort Collins police are asking for the public’s help in these cases. They released the following information about their investigation:
Anyone with information about the incident or the suspect(s) is asked to call Detective Marnie Christensen at 970-221-6580 or Crime Stoppers of Larimer County at 970-221-6868. Crime Stoppers may also be reached through their web site at http://www.stopcriminals.org.