CRIME

St. Matthew's Lutheran Church deals with theft of trees, cash

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A local church is vowing not to let a "grinch" dampen their holiday spirit after they were robbed of Christmas trees, cash and even a car last week.

Nearly a week and a half ago, a member of the St. Matthew's Lutheran Church in Southwest Washington noticed that the Christmas trees they sell had been stolen. What more, another member of the church had her car stolen as well.

Inside her vehicle was thousands of dollars in cash and checks that the church had raised.

"My mouth must have dropped," church member Ruth Beaver said about when she first saw the damage to her car, which included a smashed in front-end. "It's really too bad...that they want to do things like that...take things that don’t belong to them."

St. Matthew's sells inexpensive trees for those who can't afford them otherwise while reminding neighbors that the church, which has been torn down and is being rebuilt, will soon return.

In the meantime, church members can't figure out how the thieves got approximately 9 to 15 trees because their site at the corner of 3rd and M streets SW is surrounded by a six-foot fence. They believe the culprits snuck underneath and threw them over.

Despite the crime, members of St. Matthew's have vowed that the events won't mess with their holiday spirit.

"Things like that happen, but it doesn't stop us," Beaver said.

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