Thieves target Lindenwold church

Tuesday, October 03, 2017 06:00PM
Vandals target Lindenwold church: Nora Muchanic reports on Action News at 5 p.m., October 3, 2017

LINDENWOLD, N.J. - Police in Camden County are looking for a pair of thieves who targeted a church.

Garden Lake Bible church sits on a quiet street in Lindenwold. It doesn't look like a target for crime, but in the last week or so three side buildings to the church have been hit twice by thieves stealing copper pipes.

The damage to the boilers, water heaters and missing copper is estimated at $20,000. Without water or working bathrooms, Sunday school classes and other activities have to be moved elsewhere.

"It's a problem and it's going to be a problem until we can get running water through the building and heat," said Pastor Ron Burrows.

The church was hit the first time on September 24.

"I thought it was the fireworks at Clementon Park," said Beatrice Barefoot who lives nearby. "I looked out the window, but I didn't see anything so I just went back to bed."

Three days later Pastor Burrows, a local councilman and retired police Lieutenant, caught a thief red-handed.

"The subject was in the basement in the process of removing pipes," said Lindenwold Chief of Police Tom Brennan. "Tried to conceal himself a little bit, but our guys found him in a closet."

Police think the suspect has accomplices.

Garden lake is a nondenominational church with about 50 members that work with prisoners, the homeless and others in need. The copper thefts go against everything they stand for, yet from the youngest on up they believe in forgiveness.

"Forgiveness isn't any good if you keep it in your pockets," said Pastor Burrows. "You have to give it out.

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