Thief Caught on Video Burglarizing Church

By Alan Van Zandt |

Published 02/24 2014 10:43PM

Updated 02/25 2014 11:04AM

(COUNTRY CLUB VILLAGE, Mo.)  Andrew County authorities are looking for help in identifying a woman caught on surveillance video taking items from the Family Worship Center.

The church, located just north of St. Joseph, was hit during Sunday services. About 250 members of the congregation were in the chapel while the thief wandered throughout the rest of the building.

While no church property was taken, two women who work in the church's youth program had items taken from their coat pockets.

One woman had her car keys taken by the thief, who was able to get inside a victim's car and take credit cards and other items from her purse.

"To think that you would come into a church with the idea of taking what you could," said Janet Daly, who was the second victim, having a small amount of cash taken from her coat pocket.

The church, which is welcoming to guests, said the woman walked right through their front door.

"We got robbed and we were doing God's work at the time," Daly said.

The woman suspected in the case is seen on camera entering the front door of the church just after 10:30 a.m. on Sunday. From there, she went down several hallways looking for unlocked doors.

Eventually, she came upon the victims' coats with the items inside.

Daly forgives the thief for what she did, but thinks the woman needs more than what was taken.

"What they need is Jesus in their life," she said. "They don't need money. They don't need stealing. We believe that it's not of God to come to a church and just ransack it while the service is going on."

The Andrew County Sheriff's Department is evaluating the video and looking into other evidence. Sheriff Bryan Atkins says one of the stolen credit cards was used to pay for a tank of gasoline at a nearby convenience store. He is surprised at how brazen the woman in the video was.

"There's a lot of places you expect crimes to happen," said Atkins. "Churches are the last ones, houses of worship, people are trusting and believe in each other."

The church's pastor, A. Douglas Cline, says it is a sign of the times that someone was so desperate that they needed to steal from a church.

"I'm sure that had she just called us, we would have done anything possible to help her out," said Cline.

While Daly forgives her thief, she still thinks there should be punishment.

"I believe God will have the final say in this and he is going to take care of her," she said.

Anyone who recognizes the woman in the video and photo is urged to call the Andrew County Sheriff's Department at (816) 324-4114 or the TIPS hotline at (816) 238-TIPS.

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