A place of worship found itself the center of a crime scene over the weekend after thousands of dollars worth of equipment was lifted right out of the sanctuary.
The South Bay Baptist Church on 5th Avenue in Chula Vista was burglarized Saturday night.
"At first I couldn't believe it. I thought gosh, who, what, I thought maybe there was a mistake or somebody played a practical joke or something," parishioner Robin Johnston said.
Johnston and her husband, Scott, have belonged to South Bay Baptist Church for over 20 years.
"We have a 32 channel dimmer board and a 24 channel audio board and they were missing," Robin Johnston said.
“Then I looked down at the stage, and we lost four speakers," Scott Johnston said.
He assumes that there had to be more than one person to carry all that equipment out and hoist it over a nine-foot fence.
The thieves made off with a drum set and a keyboard too.
“They unplugged everything. They could of just ripped and tore, but they didn't,” interim Pastor Sam Talbert said. “They obviously knew what they were doing."
The church will replace everything. It was insured, but parishioners have a message for the thieves and it's not what you might think.
"Hopefully this could be an opportunity that God has. It looks like a bad thing, but it could be a good thing," parishioner Doreen Rekoski said.
"I'm just going to pray for them, because they need it,” Robin Johnston said crying. “They need to know that the Lord loves them, that they can be forgiven for this. We forgive them. We don't have hard feelings."
Chula Vista police dusted the church for fingerprints. They think the thieves got in through the rear door in the auditorium.