Crooks Targeting Local Churches

CLEVELAND - Some people are ignoring one of the Ten Commandments, and in a church of all places.

Det. Alberto Sardon at the Cleveland Police Department's 6th District headquarters told The Investigator that crooks are stealing from churches in the Collinwood area with disturbing regularity.

Not only are the thieves breaking the Seventh Commandment, but they're doing it in places of worship. The very places that we go to pray have become popular targets of criminals.

New Fellowship Baptist Church is the latest church to get hit. Police said that a repeat criminal offender was caught breaking into the church's basement window late at night.

The church's expensive sound system was ripped off.

There was more to steal, but the burglar apparently was scared off by church neighbor Wayne Langford's barking dog.

"I mean how low can you go, to steal from a place where you're supposed to worship?" Langford said.

The Rev. Frederick Knuckles has been forced to take security steps to keep undesirables away.

The man accused in the break-in, Ernest Smith, has been in and out of prison on a number of felonies.

Police have seen a rash of church theft cases. They said that small time thieves are looking for goods to sell on the street to feed drug habits.