Rural churches targeted by thieves - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Rural churches targeted by thieves

Travis Rush Travis Rush
Sumter County Sheriff Col. Eric Bryant Sumter County Sheriff Col. Eric Bryant
AMERICUS, GA (WALB) - A Sumter County pastor says he will be increasing security after $5,000 of musical instruments were stolen over the weekend. The Sumter County sheriff's office is looking for that burglar. The break-in was one of four such crimes over the weekend.

Travis Rush says he is already taking steps to increase security systems at his church, but the best way to stop this problem is by increasing foot patrol in these areas.

Travis Rush opens his church doors just as he did Sunday morning, expecting good news to be shared. "It was just one of those things that caught us off guard," said Rush.

Instead, he had very bad news. "The entry to the sanctuary was done through this window."

A burglar pried open the screen to this window before climbing inside, and stealing a brand new piano and speakers. "Satan has no respect of person just as though, you know, whether you're a big church, whether you're a mega church or you're just a small rural church. He comes to steal, kill, and destroy," said Rush.

Unfortunately, Spring Creek Baptist Church wasn't the only victim. Three other churches were burglarized too. Law enforcers say this crime is part of a bigger problem though, as criminals take aim at small South Georgia churches hoping for big time payouts.

"Our neighboring county actually has a suspect in custody so we've actually spoken with them to see if there was merchandise that was recovered that hadn't been accounted for, or whether or not this suspect was in custody at a certain time when we feel our burglaries might have occurred," said Colonel Eric Bryant with the Sumter County Sheriff's Office.

Rush notices this trend too, and hopes to set up a foot patrol system to protect rural churches in the area.

"Make sure you take necessary precautions to make sure that your facility is protected. Also, we must remain prayerful and watchful," said Rush.

Investigators continue to follow leads, but have not made any arrests in the case. If you come across any of this stolen property, you're asked to call the Sumter County Sheriff's Office.


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