Thieves Ransack Hilltop Church Sanctuary

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Columbus police are searching for the person or people responsible for stealing roughly $10,000 worth of musical instruments and electronics from a West Columbus church.

Parishioners at Westgate United Methodist Church arrived Sunday morning to find their sanctuary had been cleaned out by thieves.

This latest church break-in is at least the fourth one reported in the Hilltop area over the last few weeks.

Pastor Leo Cunningham said the thief or thieves allegedly climbed the fire escape to get to a window and then broke it to get inside.

Cunningham said his organist first noticed the theft when he arrived at church Sunday morning.

The thief or thieves got away with microphones, an electric guitar, a drum set, and several speakers worth thousands of dollars.

Cunningham, who's only been the pastor at the church for seven weeks, said the crime didn't stop him or his congregation Sunday morning.

"We had worship and it was fun. The evidence team was running around dusting for prints, and I'm preaching, and there are police officers talking to people and we are singing and praying in the midst of all of it," Cunningham said.

At this point, it's not known whether this break-in is connected to several other church break-ins reported in the area.