Burglars invade two churches

Published 7:00 am Saturday, February 1, 2014

VICTIMIZED: First Baptist Church of Carriere was broken into earlier this week.   Photo by Alexandra Hedrick

VICTIMIZED: First Baptist Church of Carriere was broken into earlier this week.
Photo by Alexandra Hedrick

The Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department is investigating two church burglaries that occurred on Sunday and Wednesday in Picayune and Carriere, said Chief Deputy Shane Tucker.

Tucker said deputies responded to a call from Picayune Church of God at 2464 Mississippi Highway 43 South on Sunday, Jan. 26 at 12:15 p.m.

He said a door had been pried open and “an undetermined amount of currency” was missing from the church. Tucker said some of the offices also had been rummaged through.

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On Tuesday, a member of First Baptist Church of Carriere at 7264 U.S. Highway 11 went to check on the church’s water pipes and everything appeared normal, Tucker said.

On Wednesday, deputies responded at 6:20 p.m. to a call from another member of the church reporting the doors were open and the office ransacked, Tucker said.

Tucker said an undetermined amount of money also was stolen from First Baptist of Carriere.

Jane Manuel, director of the church’s Angel Tree Project, said the money that was stolen was from a recent fundraiser and the offerings from the kindergarten class to help with Angel Tree Project.

Manuel said the money from the fundraiser was to help send the children at the church to the Passion play in Eureka Springs, Ark.

Manuel said a member of the church had volunteered to check on the church’s water pipes Tuesday afternoon. She said the next day her daughter went to turn on the heat in the church for Pastor Gary Smith and his family when she discovered the church had been broken into.

“We’ve been praying for whoever did it. We feel they’re lost and need to be saved,” Manuel said.

Manuel thanked the Sheriff’s Department for the quick response and help with the burglary.

Tucker said both burglaries are under investigation and anyone with information can call dispatch at 601-795-2241 or the investigation department during office hours at 601-403-2530.

Tucker also advised churches not keep offerings in the church buildings during this time.