MURRAY — Calloway County Sheriff Sam Steger said Monday that his and his deputies are working hard to find the persons responsible for a rash of burglaries in the past week at several Calloway County churches.
Steger said the number of churches affected has risen to eight. He said the first burglary was reported about a week ago and his office has been receiving at least one report of additional burglaries to houses of worship each day since then.
“We are definitely trying to get a handle on this one,” Steger said Monday afternoon, shorty after the CCSO Facebook page began asking for the public’s help in the case. “These have not been attempted burglaries, they have gained access on each one of them and items have been taken in each one.”
In asking for the public’s help Monday, CCSO included surveillance footage and still photographs taken on Thursday showing two people entering the multipurpose room of Coldwater Church of Christ. The image appears to show a male and a female and their faces are fairly visible.
“Surely somebody is going to have seen these people,” Steger said of how the video is of good quality. “We got lucky there. You can see them pretty well. They appear to be a male and a female, both white, and they appear to be fairly young, but you can’t tell their exact ages.”
Steger said the main items taken have been electronic equipment, such as televisions, computers and sound systems, as well as cash. He said it appears that much of the equipment is what might be used for sanctuary services.
“And that’s not good. We don’t like to ever see any burglaries, but it’s really bad or some of these smaller churches that don’t have a lot of income. They’re going to have a hard time recouping the value on that equipment. They need that equipment in order to do what they need to do. They can’t just have a few thousand dollars worth of equipment taken and replace it overnight. This stuff is very expensive,”
he said, noting that neighboring Graves County is also having a problem with church burglaries.
“We have a video from one of those like we do over here too, but, from looking at it, I don’t believe it is the same people in that video who are shown in the (Coldwater) footage. That doesn’t mean, though, that they’re not connected, and, in fact, we understand that one of the burglaries over in Graves was to a church that is not very far from the Calloway County line.”
Steger said Murray-Calloway County Crimestoppers is already offering a reward that will lead to the identification, capture and conviction of the people responsible for these burglaries. Anyone seeing anything suspicious is asked to call Crimestoppers at 270-753-9500, along with CCSO at 270-753-3151 or utilize CCSO’s tip line at email@example.com.