By David Irvin: CNJ staff writer
A local Pentecostal church has been burglarized four times since New Year’s Eve, irking the pastor and confounding his church congregation.
Even though an electric piano and guitar were stolen during the third break-in, music is still a part of the Calvary Tabernacle Church service.
“(We) keep on making a joyful noise,” pastor Lawrence Thompson said. “We’ll sing a cappella if we need to.”
That won’t be necessary, however, since Thompson just secured an acoustic piano to keep the music alive.
In all, the Calvary Tabernacle Church has suffered losses of about $10,000 in stolen goods and damage since the string of burglaries began at the end of December, Thompson said.
Additional items taken include speakers, computers, stereos, collectibles, a heater, an air conditioner mount and two wooden frames.
For a church that averages about 50 people for Sunday service, that’s a big loss.
“This last time was pretty heavy on me,” the pastor said, “it’s just been so recent and so many times that it has happened.”
After the last break-in, Thompson said he turned to scripture for inspiration.
“In all this, Job sinned not nor charged God foolishly,” said Thompson, quoting from the Book of Job, in which an upright servant of God became the focal point of tragedy and grief.
“We don’t know who it is, and even if we did we’d have to be careful, because that’s all in the hands in the Lord,” he said.
He said he continues to try to keep the church members from engendering strife or hatred due to the thefts. He said all things, even these crimes, work together for the good for them who love God.
The church was first broken into on New Year’s Eve and again the following day. After the incidents, Thompson secured the north door of the church, where the burglars entered the first time, and he also began installing a security system.
But that wasn’t enough.
On Feb. 8, thieves returned and hit the church hard, taking musical equipment worth about $2,500. They entered the church by kicking in a small refrigerated air conditioning unit. According to the police report, one of the alarm system motion sensors was turned down toward the ground inside the church.
Police were able to collect latent fingerprints from the air conditioning unit and the responding officer also detected two sets of shoe prints outside the church.
On Monday, the church was burglarized again.
This time about $850 worth of computer equipment and other collectibles were missing, Thompson said.
Police detectives say there are no suspects at this time, and not much evidence to even suggest these crimes were committed by the same people.
“Other than it’s the same place, and the same entry point” there’s no indication this was perpetrated by the same individuals, Clovis Police detective Keith Farkas said. He said the church is probably just seen as an easy target by would-be thieves.