Dallas Police Officer Interrupts Church Burglary

Police do not yet know if case is connected to other burglaries of Oak Cliff churches

By Julie Fine
|  Saturday, Sep 21, 2013  |  Updated 12:31 AM CDT
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A Dallas police officer caught a burglary suspect crawling into an Oak Cliff church's back window.

Julie Fine, NBC 5 News

A Dallas police officer caught a burglary suspect crawling into an Oak Cliff church's back window.

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Two more Oak Cliff churches were burglarized this week, but a police officer interrupted one of them.

Dallas police said the officer saw a man's legs sticking out of a back window while driving by Marsalis Avenue Church of Christ. Police quickly found the man inside the church.

According to a police report, the suspect said he wanted some food and to get out of the rain.

But the minister said thinks he knows who is responsible -- someone he and others have seen inside the church who has tried it before.

"After one have gone into a life of crime, it becomes almost an emotional high," said David Lane, senior minister.

The break-in at Marsalis Avenue Church of Christ was the latest in a string of church burglaries that began in early August, most in East Oak Cliff.

In August, someone squeezed through a window at Christian Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, and stole about $2,000, including money from the Sunday offering. The thief avoided a security camera in the hallway.

And in September, thieves pried open a door at New Calvary Hill Church and made off with audio equipment right before the church's anniversary service.

Lane said he believes many church burglars are parishioners.

"They go to places of worship, houses of worship, to case the place, to see what is there, to see the most accessible way to enter them," he said.

Police are still waiting for fingerprints on the suspect in the Marsalis Avenue Church of Christ break-in, but say there is some doubt the burglary is related to other church thefts because it is a little away from the other burglaries.

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