5 Chillicothe Churches Report Break-Ins

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Chillicothe Police are investigating six break-ins at churches on the city's east side, and are warning other congregations to be on alert.

Detectives said in each of these cases, the suspects appear to have knowledge of the church layout.

Police believe the suspects are attending community events at area churches -- in order to get inside, and unlock a door or window, only to return later, and use it as a point of entry.

Then, the thieves are stealing cash and items they can easily sell, from these places of worship.

Reverend Stanley Kennedy said he arrived to open up the Free Holiness Mission

Church one Sunday morning, when he discovered someone already had.

"And then we came back and found out that our air conditioning unit was completely gone and our door was busted in," Rev. Kennedy said.

The door was left wide open, and wires to the furnace were cut, leaving the congregation without heat on a cold fall morning.

The reverend was forced to cancel that morning's services.

"We just felt very violated and we just couldn't believe that someone, you know, could do that, you know to a church," Rev. Kennedy said.

Just blocks away at the New Life Christian Church, Pastor Skip Cousins knows that feeling.

"They tried to break in through this window," Pastor Cousins pointed out.

The church's security system scared off the thieves, but left a damaged window... and a shaken congregation.

"When people want to break in, for drug money or for anything they can steal to sell for their drug habits, then they'll do that," said Pastor Cousins.

In addition, the Trinity United Methodist Church, First Church of the Nazarene, Free
United Methodist Church and First Church of God... all on Chillicothe's east side, were also struck.

The thieves made away with a collection of change in one incident, and $147 dollars from a safe in another.

Back at Free Holiness, the door to the church no longer opens -- broken by the thieves.

But the door to forgiveness will never close.

"We would just say to them, if you needed help, we're here to help and we just hope that by this, you know, there's some type of repentance there," Rev. Kennedy said.

Chillicothe Police said with the holidays approaching, churches holding public events need to be aware of who is there, and to not allow guests to roam the church unattended.

Anyone with information on the crimes is asked to contact Chillicothe Police at 740-773-1191.