Leaders focus on security after thieves target churches

By: Elsa Gillis

Updated:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - As the sounds of the Charlotte Symphony Chamber singers filled the sanctuary at Myers Park United Methodist Church Thursday night, someone was stealing from them.

Members of the symphony said someone stole from several of their members during their performers.

The thief took cash, credit cards and identifications, according to the police report.

Earlier this week, police in Chester, South Carolina, said a woman was robbed at gunpoint after leaving a bible study.

On Tuesday, several cars were broken into at a north Charlotte church, while people were inside for bible study.

"Churches are here to serve and to help and to benefit the community, and it's unfortunate,” the Rev. Thomas Farrow said.

Farrow, the senior pastor at Reeder Memorial Baptist Church in north Charlotte, said his church was also broken into in August, so he's contacted the local religious community for guidance.

“I think one of the challenges we have is that people know when we're going to be here,” Farrow said. “They'll know a lot of times when we're not going to be here. Matter of fact, actually, I don't know a pastor who has been here for an extended amount of time, I don't know one who has not had some kind of incident."

Farrow said the church already has cameras and security in place, and he's now looking to put more lighting on the property.

"I don't want you sitting in the congregation listening to the teaching or the preaching or singing in the choir and having to worry at the same time,” Farrow said.

Myers Park United Methodist Church leaders said they are working to determine precisely what happened and want to learn from this to continue to make sure their campus is as safe as it can be.

Myers Park United Methodist Church officials sent this statement to Channel 9:

"We are so sorry a beautiful night of music was marred in any way. We are working to determine precisely what happened. We want to learn from this so that we can continue to do the best job we can making sure our campus is as safe as it can be for everyone, and also welcoming to all."  

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