Three churches burglarized in Columbus, pastor speaks out

Three churches burglarized in Columbus, pastor speaks out

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Columbus police are investigating three church burglaries that have happened since Sunday. In a few of the cases, items were stolen, while some just showed significant damage from the break-ins.

The pastor of University Avenue Assembly of God says he was notified of the burglary Wednesday morning by a church member. He says this is the third time the church has been burglarized in 18 years since he's been pastor.

"They used something as you can see and broke this and hit it hard enough to break it open, and here's the damage right here and the debris was lying all out there," said Pastor Jerry Sauls.

Pastor Sauls surveyed visible damage left behind by burglars inside University Avenue Assembly of God Thursday.

"Every door that was open and the one's they could not open, they kicked them in," said Sauls.

Most of the damage is contained to the fellowship hall behind the church sanctuary. Damage was also done to a storage unit in the back of the building.

"You can see where they bent this out and I just put it back this morning, and they tore this," said Sauls.

Although nothing is missing after the just after midnight burglary Wednesday, Pastor Sauls says the bigger message is to forgive the perpetrator and move on and he says he's not upset and has forgiven whoever may have committed this crime.

"I felt a little bit violated in the first half of the day, but it's all gone. I don't feel any sense of being violated and I don't have any animosity. We already turned everything into the insurance company and the claim is being processed and that gives everybody a peace that everything is going to be corrected," said Sauls.

Burglars also went to Northside Church of Christ on Double Churches Road. Between Sunday and Tuesday, several TVs were stolen and received hundred of dollars in property damage. Police reports also show, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on Reese Road was burglarized Tuesday.

Columbus police continue to investigate those burglaries. News leader 9 reached out for a comment from those two churches and calls were not returned.

"They are motivated by something and they'll find out in time," said Sauls.

Pastor Sauls and his congregation plan to take further action to protect their church.

"We're going to do something in the field of technology that will enhance it and prevent that maybe in the future," said Sauls.

Columbus Police tried to take fingerprints from University Avenue Assembly of God, but the pastor says police were unsuccessful.

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