June 20, 2011 – Marietta Police recently charged a man with stealing air conditioning units worth more than $10,000 from Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta. Although the air conditioning units were recovered, they were damaged beyond repair, police said.
March 18, 2011 – CLEVELAND, Ohio — The 34-year-old Cleveland man who stole copper from nearly a dozen churches and Lakewood High School will be sentenced April 6.
James Dina pleaded guilty Wednesday in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court to burglary, vandalism, disrupting a public service, 16 counts of breaking and entering and five counts of theft.
Over the last five months of last year, Dina stole copper downspouts in Lakewood from the Lakewood Congregational Church at 1375 West Clifton Blvd., Gethsemane Lutheran Church at 14560 Madison Ave., Lakewood United Methodist Church at 15700 Detroit Ave., St. James Catholic Church at 17514 Detroit Ave., Faith Lutheran Church at 16511 Hilliard Road, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church at 18001 Detroit Ave. and Lakewood High School on Franklin Boulevard.
He also stole copper downspouts from St. Paul Lutheran Church on East Bagley Road in Berea, and Our Lady of Angels at 3644 Rocky River Dr., Monastery of Poor Clares at 3501 Rocky River Dr., Sisters of St. Joseph at 3430 Rocky River Dr., and the Marriott Hotel at 4277 West 150th St. in Cleveland.
And he stole brass fittings for water lines from Homewood Suites by Hilton and the Hampton Inn on Enterprise Parkway and Springhill Suites by Marriott at 30100 Aurora Road in Solon.
March 18, 2011 -Kingsland Georgia police have charged two men with burglarizing three churches in two days.
Edward Stanley Gilbert, 20, and Lloyd Odis Sams, 19, both of Kingsland, each face three counts of felony burglary, said Lt. Todd Tetterton, police department spokesman.
When arrested, the suspects had been free on bail on charges stemming from another theft case, Tetterton said.
Both remained in custody at the Camden County jail on Thursday.
Gilbert and Sams are charged with stealing a variety of items including canned food, prepackaged juice drinks, hot chocolate mix, a portable clock radio and a small lock box-style safe after breaking into churches.
Kingsland patrol officers on duty in the area developed information Wednesday that led detective Brian Aligood to identify Gilbert and Sams as possible suspects in the break-ins. Aligood subsequently interviewed the men at their home.
After arresting the men, Aligood recovered several items including a lock box, radio and a cart the owners identified as items taken from the churches, Tetterton said.
SAN FRANCISCO— October 18, 2010 – San Francisco police are asking for the public’s help to identify one or more burglars responsible for several burglaries at local churches within the past two months.
KGO-TV reports five of those burglaries have occurred at St. Francis Episcopal Church.
Police say at least six churches in the southwest part of San Francisco have been hit between August and September. Police don’t believe the break-ins are connected.
Rev. Mark Ruyak of St. Francis says his church is spending $20,000 for surveillance cameras and lights that were installed Friday.
Police are urging residents living near churches to report anything they believe may appear suspicious.
Sept 25th, 2010: The wife of a former state’s attorney was sentenced Friday to 11 years in prison for stealing nearly $138,000 from her church and setting a house fire in a failed cover-up.
Terri L. James, 42, wept as she read from a prepared statement apologizing to the church, the homeowners and to the Ottawa firefighters whose lives she put at risk setting the fire on March 17.
The judge noted James was in a position of authority (a bookkeeper) for First Congregational United Church of Christ, and she abused that trust by stealing funds as far back as November 2004.
The judge then sentenced James to a pair of 11-year sentences, for residential arson and theft, which will be served concurrently and with day-for-day good time. He also ordered her to make restitution to the church in the amount of $137,817.06. James has until five years after her release from prison, likely in late 2015, to make restitution.
Ryan was unable to order restitution for the home, which sustained an estimated $450,000 in damage, as insurers still are assessing the damage and working out a settlement.
uly 14, 2010 | Waukesha - The former pastor of St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Brookfield who was charged this year with the theft of $9,300 in church funds was sentenced Wednesday to 100 days in the county work release jail.
Leonard Van Vlaenderen, 51, of Cudahy was convicted by Waukesha County Circuit Judge J. Mac Davis after Van Vlaenderen pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of felony theft.
Davis left open the option that Van Vlaenderen could serve his jail term in Milwaukee County, where the priest lives and cares for his elderly mother and aunt.
If Milwaukee County authorities agree, Van Vlaenderen could end up serving much or all of his jail term at home on electronic monitoring, officials said.
Davis told Van Vlaenderen to report to the Waukesha County work release jail on July 28 unless arrangements are made by then for him to serve his sentence in Milwaukee County.
THE WOODLANDS, TX — It’s proof that thieves will hit any place at any time. Even a church isn’t sacred. Someone broke into a church in The Woodlands and stole the entire Sunday collection.
It was about 4pm and the church was filled with choir members when someone came through the front door, then broke into an interior office and stole an entire safe filled with cash, checks and credit cards. The entire Sunday collection was gone, along with cards used to pay the bills.
“The lock on the door to the office apparently is very easy to jimmy,” said Woodlands Christian Church Chairman Rose Sinclair.
She says the break-in was a big shock.
A former daycare director at a macon church has been charged with more than 400 counts of forgery and theft. Right now, Paula Cowan is out on bond for one count of theft back in 2008 when the investigation first started. But as the investigation grew, so did the charges against her.
Page after Page of copies of forged checks will be used as evidence against Cowan, who is the former director of daycare at Riverside United Methodist Church in Macon.
An arraignment date for Cowan to plead guilty or not guilty has not been set. If the case goes to trial and if she is found guilty on all counts, prosecutors say she could face up to 5,500 years behind bars, along with paying back the stolen money.
CHANNELVIEW, Texas—Police are searching for thieves that continuously target a church in Channelview.
Recently, thieves broke into the Old River Terrace United Methodist Church and took several items, including a $500 projector.
The church has been hit several times over the last year, with the crooks breaking windows, leaving graffiti and causing thousands of dollars in damage.
“It makes me mad. Makes me want to come down here and start sleeping on the couch in this office with a baseball bat, just dare them to come in and break in on me,” said Steven Mueller, usher.
Other items stolen from the church were a preschool van, a Boy Scout trailer and an empty safe.