Only On 12: Augusta Church Burglarized in a Big Way

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, May 17, 2007

AUGUSTA, GA-- Who on earth would steal from a church? That's what Richmond County investigators are trying to figure out after the New Land New Seed Ministries church was burglarized.

More than 3 thousand dollars worth of stuff stolen and the thieves made out with the loot in a very unique way.

When pastor Alonzo Pressley arrived to teach bible study Wednesday night (May 16), he discovered the church had some unwelcome visitors.

It's not everyday you see a preacher in his tennis shoes, but when we met with Pastor Pressley he was wearing the only pair of shoes he had left. That's because thieves broke into his church on Augusta's Eighth Avenue sometime Tuesday night.

Investigators believe the burglar got in by cutting open a fence behind the church, but it wasn't the only fence in their way. The locks on a fence surrounding the church's tool shed were then cut, allowing the crook to get in and steal all of the church's lawn equipment: a riding lawnmower, a weedeater and two blowers.

But the thief didn't stop there, he then cut off the lock on the back door to steal more stuff inside.

Pastor Pressley says "When someone goes to that point where they would take from a church, they've gone to the lowest low."

Pressley's office was ransacked and so was his assistant's. A total of
350 dollars in petty cash was taken, as well as Pressley's TV and DVD player, even all ten pairs of shoes he kept at the church office for traveling.

But with more than three thousand dollars worth of stuff gone, and one big mess to clean up, Pastor Pressley still remains hopeful. "I'm hoping the fingerprints will show who it is and we'll have the chance to sit down and talk to them."

And if Pressley gets that chance, he says he knows exactly what he would say to the person responsible. "I really would try to offer them the plan of salvation first, then I would pray that they would be indicted, prosecuted, and put behind bars."

How the thief made off with the loot is also interesting. Richmond County investigators believe the thief emptied the church's city trashcan and put most of the stolen loot in there. Then, loaded it on the back of the riding lawnmower and drove it through the hole in the fence.

The Richmond County Sheriff's Office says they are working to run all of the serial numbers on the church's lawn equipment through a database that accesses pawn shops to see if any of the equipment turns up.

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