MILLEDGEVILLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - Authorities are trying to figure out who is behind a rash of church burglaries in several counties across Middle Georgia that could possibly be related.
These crimes have been going on for months and investigators do not have many leads. The criminals are targeting churches in rural areas, breaking in, and stealing electronics.
"Hard to believe that someone can actually do something like that to a church," Salem Baptist Church member Teresa Williams said.
It is part of the 10 commandments: thou shall not steal. But someone broke that sacred rule at the Salem Baptist Church in Baldwin County. Williams works in the youth center and says earlier this month, the crooks forced their way into a window in the back of the building. They stole the church's speakers, music equipment, and electronics. According to the incident report, the stolen equipment totals more than $5,000.
"That's what our youth depended on. We used that at all our youth rallies and youth functions and we no longer have that," Williams said.
This is just one of two churches that were burglarized in Baldwin County. In April, criminals broke into the Mitchell Zion Baptist Church and stole almost $9,000 worth of electronics. Authorities in Laurens County are working three similar cases and one church in Jones County was victimized.
Investigators are trying to determine if they are connected, but so far they do not have many leads.
"You can run away from the law, but you cannot hide from God," Williams said.
Even though these burglars preyed on the faithful, Williams says church goers won't let this crime dampen their spirit.
"We're not going to let it get us down," she said. "God is going to get us through it."
With a little prayer and some detective skills, she hopes investigators will catch the bad guys and bring the music back to their church.
Williams says the church is insured for all the equipment that was stolen.
Investigators haven't found the electronics from any of the church burglaries. The different law enforcement agencies are working together on these cases.