Thieves target church twice

Published 8:04 am Friday, August 28, 2009

BOYKINS—Clarksbury Baptist Church has been a crime scene twice in two months.

In early July and again last weekend, church members say someone broke into the church and stole expensive audio equipment.

“They didn’t steal it from us, they stole it from God,” said the Rev. James B. Jarratt, the church’s assistant pastor. “Once you put it in that church, it belongs to God.”

In July, thieves stole two large speakers and a microphone, according to Jarratt. He said that the stolen speakers were replaced. Church members also planned to install bars on the doors, but the second break-in occurred before that could happen.

“Friday afternoon everything was there. Sunday morning when we got to church they had kicked in there again,” he said. This time, he said, thieves stole the church’s amplifier and two brand-new speakers the church bought to replace the stolen ones.

“I think the same ones (did) it,” Jarratt said.

The Southampton County Sheriff’s Office responded to the church both times. Jarratt said they took fingerprints and are investigating, but he hasn’t heard any more information.

“They’re doing their job,” he said.

Southampton County Detective Cpl. Richard Morris said Wednesday that the sheriff’s department received a call at 9:20 a.m. Sunday over the second break-in. He said investigators believe the burglars gained entry to the building both times using a door at the rear of the church.

Morris said the equipment stolen Sunday was valued at $650 and the audio equipment stolen in July was valued at $300. He said both incidents were under investigation.

Jarratt is hoping that someone the thief, or thieves, tries to sell the equipment to will have a conscience and call the sheriff’s office.

“Anybody who’ll steal from a church doesn’t have a conscience,” he said. “God is going to take care of them in his way in his time.”

Jarratt doesn’t think that the thieves had been to the church before breaking in, but they probably just assumed that the church had audio equipment inside.

“I think they targeted that church for some reason,” Jarratt said. “I just don’t think this is random.”

The church, located on Clarksbury Road between Capron and Boykins, has a largely elderly congregation of about 20 members.

“You know God takes care of his own,” Jarratt said. “If we can’t get him, God will (because) God knows.”

Anyone with information about either break-in is asked to call the Southampton County Sheriff’s Office at (757) 653-2100.