(Toledo News Now) – Since August, 47 churches have been broken into in eight counties across Ohio and Michigan. Police believe they are all connected and are searching for suspects.
Two churches in Tedrow, Ohio – just outside of Wauseon – were broken into recently. On the same night, three others in Fulton County were hit, and a church in Wauseon was targeted the next day.
"All the break-ins are similar," said Sergeant Tracy Zuver of the Fulton County Sheriff's Office. "What they're doing is breaking a window, prying a window, or prying doors to get into the church. Once they're inside…they ransack the different offices, and they're apparently just looking for cash."
Over the last few months, 11 churches in Lenawee County, eight in Monroe, and 22 other churches in Michigan counties were all broken into the same way.
Now police have a picture of at least one of the suspects. He was caught on a Genesee County church's surveillance camera stealing a bag of coins. Later that day, he was spotted at a Walmart, cashing in those coins.
A pastor at one of the affected churches hopes the picture can help bring closure to this ordeal, but doesn't hold any anger toward the criminal.
"That's not our focus as the body of Christ," said Doug King, pastor of the Tedrow Mennonite Church. "We really want to see people's live changed, and we're just praying that change will happen in the lives of the people that have been doing these break-ins."
Anyone with information related to these break-ins should call the Lenawee County Crimestoppers at 517-266-6161 or the Fulton County Sheriff's Office at 800-255-1122.