CRIME

Prince William Police: Three churches targeted by thieves in Nokesville

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NOKESVILLE, Va. (WJLA) - Prince William County Police say they are looking for the thief or thieves they say broke into three churches sometime between Sunday afternoon and Monday morning.

All three incidents happened in the small town of Nokesville, and all three involved someone breaking in through a window. Police say because of the similarities, the burglaries may very well be related.

One church hit was Nokesville United Methodist, where the pastor says whoever broke in got away with a safe and a small amount of cash.
Just a quarter mile away on Aden Road, Victory Baptist Church was also hit. Secretary Norma Mathers says a safe and a small amount of money were also taken there.

The third church broken into was Asbury United Methodist three and a half miles away. Police say nothing was reported missing there.

According to officers, there was no surveillance video taken at any of the churches, and they don't have a description of the suspect or suspects.
Mathers and Nokesville United Methodist Pastor Jim Johnson says the thief or thieves broke into every locked room and searched drawers and cabinets for money.

"It's sad in any day and age for a church to be hit, because churches, we're here to help the community, to be a service to others," Mathers said.
But both she and Johnson say they're trying to look at the situation with compassion rather than anger.

"Your first reaction is I think like most folks – you wish that somebody could get their tail whipped," Johnson said. "But then your better angels take over and you begin to realize that this is somebody who has a real need for some grace."

"I don't know what has happened in their lives to bring them to this point, but...as a congregation, we're praying for them" Mathers said.

The church break-ins happened just two days after a series of break-ins through glass doors and one window at five Woodbridge homes.

Victims ABC7 talked to in the area say their homes were also searched by thieves looking for money and valuables.

But the area of Woodbridge that was hit is about 18 miles away from the churches, and Prince William County Police say they don't think the burglaries are related.

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