PERRY COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - Churches affected by recent burglaries are now speaking out.
Two Pine Belt sheriffs are working together to solve a series of church burglaries. Wayne County Sheriff Jody Ashley said, so far, three men have been arrested for stealing a van.
In Perry County, Sheriff Mitch Nobles said they’re following leads.
The church in Brooklyn that was vandalized, Janice Baptist Church, has video footage of the vandals and was able to watch the footage back to see what they took.
Pastor Don Heiden wants the church’s message of “turning your hearts to Jesus” to spread to these vandals.
“If they’ll just come to talk to us and just listen cause God is so good and he can take us and change us into things that you can never imagine and give us hope in life and light," Heiden said.
Heiden said he is grateful Sheriff Nobles is staying in communication with him and letting him know the latest information in the investigation.
Among other churches burglarized include Ebenezer Baptist Church in Wiggins, Disciples Chapel in New Augusta, West Shady Grove Baptist Church in Waynesboro, Maynor Creek Assembly of God in Waynesboro, and Altair Missionary Church in Waynesboro.
Evergreen Baptist Church in Shubuta was also hit. They did have cameras and recording systems in place, but that hardware was among the stolen.
They also took some of Pastor Levi Burnham’s personal belongings. Burnham was in the National Guard and had a gas mask and a bulletproof vest in the church he was using for service.
“It was a military property I had to go through a lot of processes to get it reported you to know its never fun to go before your commander to say hey my stuff was stolen," Burnham said.
Burnham said he hopes the vandals get caught.
“I’d love to tell them about Jesus, I’d love to offer them forgiveness for this I don’t hold any bitterness towards them on it whatsoever," Burnham said. "Christ died for us all and even for them and I want them to come to a saving relationship with Christ if they would ask forgiveness for what they’ve done to these churches as far as my church goes we forgive them.”
Both sheriffs said they’re continuing to investigate these crimes, and patrols have been increased in the affected areas.
If you have any information on the burglaries, contact your local law enforcement.