7 southern IL churches reportedly broken into in a week - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

7 southern IL churches reportedly broken into in a week


Someone is breaking into churches in southern Illinois.

"It made us think differently about our security," Pastor Darryl Williams said.

Anna Heights Baptist Church was one of seven churches in Union County hit by a thief or thieves in the last week, and so far there are no suspects in the cases.

Sheriff Scott Harvel said most of the break-ins, including the one that happened late on Sunday or early on Monday, involved thieves making off with cash and small electronics.

He said thieves target rural churches for a number of reasons, mainly because they know when people will or won't be there.

Some of the other churches hit include Missionary Baptist, New Hope Baptist, Ebenezer and Saratoga Churches in rural parts of the county.

Law enforcement is asking for the public's help with any information that can lead them to an arrest.

Harvel said he reached out to surrounding counties and learned both Alexander and Johnson counties have seen similar crimes targeting rural churches recently.

This string of break-ins follows a church burglary in Mill Creek on Friday, Dec. 5, according to authorities.

They also say break-ins occurred at a church and business in Dongola on Wednesday or Thursday.

For now, leaders are urging other churches in the area to take necessary precautions.

"Redouble your efforts as far as it goes to security," Pastor Williams said. "I mean for a few dollars you can buy some technology now that can make a difference to catch people on film or something like that."

The pastor said this is the second time in six months that burglaries have forced their way in.

Pastor Williams said this second break-in has convinced them to install security cameras around their buildings.

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