Church Burglary Suspect Simply Had to Ask: Pastor

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NBC 7's Omari Fleming talks with employees at The Christ United Methodist Church Ministry Center about a break-in that happened Tuesday, August 5, 2014. (Published Thursday, Aug 7, 2014)

A potential burglar caught on surveillance cameras inside a San Diego area church didn’t need to steal to get what he wanted, the pastor said.

"My heart goes out to him,” Pastor Bill Jenkins. “You’ve got to be on a low limb to steal from a church."

The Christ United Methodist Church Ministry Center on Meade Avenue houses multiple churches.

The person of interest was first spotted Tuesday around 4 p.m. in the center’s cafeteria. He was seen running after reportedly stealing something from the fridge.

Church employees believe the man followed someone into the building. After eluding janitors, the man hid upstairs for about five hours, employees said.

Then, the man was recorded on camera using a flashlight to navigate through the darkness.

“You can see him casing and checking the doors,” Pastor Jenkins said watching the video.
He walked to the closet where two speakers, belonging to New Jerusalem Church and valued at $800, were stolen.

That is money that’s hard to come by for Pastor Connie Cervante's Normal Heights house of worship.

“It’s a small congregation and this is the church's money the congregation gave,” Cervante said. “That’s what bothers and hurts me."

While police investigated what was missing from the church, employees plastered pictures of the possible suspect on their walls as a warning.

“Hopefully it will be a deterrent to him,” said Jeanneta Kramer. “If he sees it, he knows we're aware
of him and everyone knows what he looks like."

Pastor Jenkins said all of this could have been avoided.

“He doesn’t need to break in,” the pastor explained. “If he needs something let us know.”

But one act of good did come out of the unfortunate situation. After hearing about the church's loss, an anonymous man dropped off six donated speakers to New Jerusalem Thursday morning. 

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