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Churches Trying to Help Become Victims

CHILLICOTHE (Lu Ann Stoia) -- "Thou shall not steal" is a commandment burglars in Chillicothe are apparently ignoring.

In Ross County, at least six churches have been the victims of break-ins.

Police have said that thieves may be attending open house fundraising events, like craft sales or book fairs, to figure out their plan to rip them off later.

The thieves may be unlocking a door or window at the event, and entering the building through that entry at a later hour, police said. 

Pastor Matthew Roe at The First Church of God is still reeling after thieves broke into the church following a holiday bazaar.

He said the breach in trust is the worst part of the crime.

The thieves apparently busted a locked safe and stole $150 cash, which volunteers had raised for the poor at the bazaar.

"To have that money taken, it just deprived the community of a blessing that they would have received," Roe said. 

Fortunately for the church's mission, most of the money raised was not kept on site.

The congregation is repairing their locks and warning other churches about the thieves. They are also circulating surveillance pictures to help police find the suspects.

"We are sad that it happened. Shocked," church administrator Christy Russell said. "You go through all kinds of emotions. We are praying for them, keeping them in our prayers."
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