Thief breaks into Elyria church to steal donation jar - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Thief breaks into Elyria church to steal donation jar

A jar with around $1,000 was stolen after students gave donations for more than two years. (Source: WOIO) A jar with around $1,000 was stolen after students gave donations for more than two years. (Source: WOIO)
The bandit left a trail of glass and coins in the hallway. (Source: WOIO) The bandit left a trail of glass and coins in the hallway. (Source: WOIO)
The church's new donation jar is smaller and will fit in a safe. (Source: WOIO) The church's new donation jar is smaller and will fit in a safe. (Source: WOIO)
ELYRIA, OH (WOIO) -

The hunt is on for the heartless thief who stole donations from a church. Children had been collecting that money for years to donate to a home for troubled youth.

Earlier this week, a thief broke into Washington Avenue Christian Church and stole the entire donation jar.

Office administrator Diana Tyler says she still can't believe it.

"We were filling it with change. We called it 'Children's Change, Changing Lives.' And this was started by our Christian education director and the kids, and they wanted to collect their change and leftover change for Cleveland Christian Home," said Tyler.

She says there was an estimated $1,000 in the water jug. Mostly students have been donating for more than two years.

The thief busted a window to get inside the church. Tyler says the bandit left a trail of glass and coins in the hallway.

"Any violation of personal space is hard to take, but when you say 'This is a church. We're here to help people.' We like to see people at their best," she said.

There was no surveillance video and police do not have any leads at this time, but many are reaching out via social media.

"It's really heartwarming and wonderful to see the way the community is saying 'This is awful.' 'This isn't right.' 'What you're trying to do is a good thing and we want to help support that,'" said Tyler.

Tyler says the church will increase security measures that will benefit the entire neighborhood, and that's not the only change they're making.

"That change jar was too big to be locked in a safe. This new change jar is smaller and will fit in a safe. And believe me, no one is getting away with that safe. And they're not getting it open," she said.

The church staffers didn't want anyone to know about the theft, but news spread. Now, some good is coming out of it.

This Sunday, Eaton Christian Church will host a chili cook-off. Donations will go directly to the Cleveland Christian Home. The event is free and all are welcome.

If you know anything about this church theft, call Elyria Police at 440-323-3302

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