Churches in Batavia Reeling From Break-Ins
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Local police and faith leaders are stunned.
“Who would think anybody in a civilized community would break into a church?” asked Detective Richad Schauf, City of Batavia Police.
Three churches in Batavia were all broken into late Saturday and early Sunday. In each case, there is heavy damage to the buildings.
“This door had been kicked in. There had been black smudges on here where they tried to kick the door in,” said Lawrence Belluscio, St. James Church.
Here at St. James Episcopal Church, the office door wouldn’t give.
“They took a stapler from the other room, and threw it through the window,” Belluscio said.
A back door was also kicked in, and several items of value were reported missing. St. James members don’t want to say what was taken just yet, citing the ongoing police investigation.
In each case, the burglars gained access to the churches through the basement, either by breaking windows, kicking in doors - or in this case, prying the door open. They removed the screws from the hinge, bent the door upward, and got inside.
Inside the First Baptist Church of Batavia, suspects looked high and low, from the basement all the way to the third floor, which is where police say they slipped up.
“Fingerprints, blood… things that are left behind that we can use to identify the person or persons,” Schauf said.
A third church, St. Mary’s, was also hit, but church officials there tell YNN there was nothing missing and little evidence to be found. It leaves only one question for police:
“The question you ask is, ‘How do you stop it?’ And that’s a question that we have ask society: ‘How do you stop people from stealing?’” asked Schauf.
If caught, the suspect or suspects will face serious felony burglary charges, as well as criminal mischief and other lesser charges.