LAWRENCE (CBS) – Pastor Gabriella Garcia said her house of worship has become a den for thieves to break in and steal.

“It’s frustrating and scary at the same time because everyone is struggling financially,” said Garcia. “Even now nobody has been captured.”

Her Christ United Methodist Church on Haverhill Street is host to three separate congregations, and in the past month, the church has been robbed three times, with thieves making off with nearly $30,000 in equipment.

WBZ-TV’s Paul Burton reports

“They have stolen electronic equipment and the last three times, they have a breakthrough. And stolen key boards, mixers, guitars,” said Garcia.

Lawrence police said there’s been a spike in church thefts, with six burglaries in five different churches in the last month alone.

“It’s unfortunate because these churches have limited budgets. They help people out in the community and in some cases, the churches have a tough time making their mortgage because of the thieves,” said Chief John Romero of the Lawrence Police Department.

On Wednesday, 15 pastors met with Chief Romero to try to figure out ways to stop the rash of break-ins.

The chief is promising to add more patrols at night around churches, and some churches will add security cameras and alarms if they can afford it.

As for Pastor Garcia, she plans on forgiving the people responsible, but also changing her locks.

“I would like them to come and know there is a better way of life and better way to get high,” she said.


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