Tuesday was a very interesting day in the office. When I arrived everyone was a flutter. Energy and anxiety were running high.
“What is the reason for all this excitement?” you ask.
On Monday night the church I work at was broken into.
We couldn’t figure out how they got in. The only sign of forced entry was a cut screen in the nursery; but the window was locked on from the inside. Did they come through an unlocked window and then lock it behind them?
They smashed a window looking into the preschool’s office and they destroyed the preschool safe. Thankfully, they didn’t get to the whooping $40 inside it. They took a digital camera in a duffel bag and the sound system from the youth room (where it looks like they stopped to play pool). Upstairs they stole the camera and DVD player from the sound booth and from my office a busted lap top that hasn’t worked in two years. At some point they discovered the key box that holds the keys to all the doors in the building. Many of the keys we found still in the door handles. Not much else was taken. A lot of doors were jimmied open and there were several cabinets destroyed.
Here are some reflections on the event:
Every church I’ve worked in has been broken into on multiple occasions. It makes me really sad. I mean…seriously?…a church? I’m not sure what, if anything, this says about society.
After a break-in, I long for the Les Miserable powerful moment of forgiveness when the thief is caught by the cops with the candle sticks and we get to say, “No officer. I gave him that digital camera in exchange for his life long devotion to God. Peace be with you brother.” But that never happens.
Immediately following the discovery I can’t help but play CSI. The music blares loudly in my head. “Bom Ba-bom. Bom Ba-bom. Who are you? Who, who? Who, who?” I start walking around corners with slow measred steps as if a a perp could jump out at me at any second. I make loud declarations with every new discovery. “Well they were in a hurry. They stopped to play a game of pool in the youth room. THOSE FIENDS!” At the end of my exploration I will explain to anyone near me my deductions. “Well you see Mr. Mail-man backing away from me trying to leave with a I’m-in-a-hurry look on your face, I believe they entered with a key card. The cut screen was actually a dastardly rouse to throw me off their scent; but it didn’t work! Now, let me trace you through the path they took through the building I deduced through my careful and astute observation of the crime scene.”
Speaking of CSI, why don’t those guys ever show up? All we got was a bored cop. One cop! Where are the well toned guys strikingly handsome guys who wear sun glasses at night? Where were the 0% body fat smok’in hot girls who could also kick my butt? I want to them to turn all the lights out and walk around spraying things with their magic evidence-lights-up-flourecent-purple-in-the-dark spray. I want them to wrap the building in caution tape and finger print everything. I want them to make witty puns as they discover new evidence. “Look at how the crucifix has been tilted to the left three degrees. This time these crooks crossed the wrong people.” (Cue kick’in music.) Sure, sure, sure. I know that in real life taking a finger print probably costs $4000 to analyze and the officer would have to fill out two tons of paper work. I don’t care. They do it T.V.
One of the things that gave all of us pause was what they left behind. For example, they took the broken lap top collecting dust under my desk, but left the two camcorders sitting in bags sitting on top of my desk. They left a flat screen T.V. that was sitting loose on a shelf, but the took the video camera that was plugged into the sound system in the balcony of the worship center. They used an extremely expensive lap top projector, possibly one of the most expensive items in the building, to prop open a door. They went through the Treasure’s office, completely destroying the cabinet, but they took nothing. When Hersch (one of Valley’s trustees) curiously asked the police office what he thought of this the cop, not intrigued at all, replied, “Criminals are stupid.”
Over the last two days, every time I sat down in my office I couldn’t help but look around and wonder what they did in there. I feel a little violated.
In the larger perspective the church break-in wasn’t that big a deal. Sure they made a mess and stole some stuff we will need to replace; but there were 10 shooting that same weekend in Baltimore – 7 of them fatal.