Churches targeted in string of burglaries in county

Over the past two weeks the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office received a total of seven burglary reports from area churches throughout Franklin County. The suspects seemed to be targeting the daily offerings and musical equipment at each of the churches and forcing their way in through windows and doors. With the holidays approaching, the Sheriff Steve Pelton is encouraging the neighborhood watch groups and citizens of Franklin County to report anything suspicious. 

Churches burglarized and items taken include:

Hilltop Advent Christian Church in Pacific, where a green,1999 Ford E-350, 15 passenger church van was stolen. St. Clair Christian Church had their office was ransacked and a laptop, video camera, electric guitar, two acoustic guitars,DVD player, and a bass guitar were stolen.

Canaan Land Ministries near St. Clair, had their shed broken into.

The Franklin County Baptist Association near Union reported projectors, speakers, microphones, portable hard drives, flash drives, keys, money, a pop-up tent, DVD player, antennas, flat screen television and mail scales were missing.

Bethel Baptist Church near St. Clair had their office ransacked and money and checks stolen.

The First Baptist Church of Gray Summit reported that church members arrived for service Sunday and discovered the sanctuary of the church ransacked and several pieces of electronics and musical equipment used for services were stolen.

Members of the Virginia Mines Baptist Church near Lonedell also reported their sanctuary ransacked and entry several musical instruments were stolen. 

The Sheriff’s Office would like to provide a list of ideas for churches to follow to help keep their items safe. 

• Have the parishioners in the area check on their church frequently and report any suspicious activity or vehicles. 

• Remove all money and valuables that you can when they are not in use. Items that cannot be easily removed or stored, obtain the serial numbers and take pictures of the items to help identify them if they were to be stolen.

• If possible, place a security camera to help identify anyone on the property after hours.

Anyone with any information is encouraged to contact the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Detective Bureau at 636-583-2560. Callers may remain anonymous.