Suffolk church increasing security after break-in

SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Police were called out to three churches in Suffolk this week. Two of the cases, on Cumberland Lane and Driver Lane, were for attempted breaking and entering, but for the church on White Marsh Road, a suspect got in through a window.

According to Suffolk city spokeswoman Diana Klink, the three cases involving the churches are not connected. Still, at Balm of Gilead Missionary Baptist Church, where someone appears to have gotten as far as the church office, the senior pastor is increasing security.

“They must have bashed it in,” said Bishop A.S. Hall Sr. as he looked at the boarded-up window from inside his office. Hall told on Thursday, his rural church is the last place he thought a criminal would target.

“Crime is everywhere,” Hall said. “Whoever did it drove to do it intentionally.”

Hall said a church member and trustee checked on the property Monday around 4 p.m. The trustee left and then 45 minutes later got a call that the church alarm was going off. When they arrived at the church, they found the back window had been smashed.

Hall said there was no alarm attached to his window. However, he does have a motion detector in his office, which triggered the alarm.

“When the alarm system went off, they exited through the office door and out the [back] door,” Hall explained.

Hall and others checked the whole church and found nothing was taken. Hall also mentioned, the church does not keep money in the building. However, he is relieved the alarm system worked as it was supposed to.

“Had we not had that here, they would have had all day and all night to do whatever they wanted to do,” Hall said.

Monday’s incident isn’t the first time Balm of Gilead has been targeted, according to Hall. A week ago, he discovered someone had been tampering with the locks on all three of the church’s back doors. Hall admits, he didn’t report the incident with the locks to police. He also doesn’t if the same person who tampered with the locks also broke in through the church window.

“We have nothing in the heart against them,” Hall said. “Just sincerely praying for them, because they have a problem.”

Klink said police continue to investigate the break-in at Balm of Gilead.

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