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ECSO searches for suspect in church burglary

POSTED: March 13, 2014 7:45 p.m.

Surveying the damage from a break-in at Goshen Road Baptist Church, parishioner John Tyson was thankful it wasn’t worse.

Someone broke three windows and stole a laptop computer after breaking into the sanctuary and the church office between Monday night and Tuesday evening, according to the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office.

“We’re fortunate they didn’t vandalize anything,” Tyson said Wednesday. “Even when something bad happens, if it’s not too bad, it’s a blessing.”

Tyson said he was doing maintenance work at the church Tuesday afternoon, but did not see or hear anything suspicious. Church members discovered the damage that night when they arrived to set up for a concert at the church.

Two windows were smashed and a third one, made of hurricane-proof glass, was damaged, Tyson said. To break the windows, the burglar(s) used a baseball bat and then took a statue from a neighbor’s back yard, according to investigators.

“Some evidence has been collected and has been sent to the crime lab for processing,” said ECSO spokesman Detective David Ehsanipoor.

Drawers in the office and the sanctuary were rifled through during the break-in. Though one laptop was taken, valuable items such as other computers and musical equipment were left behind.

“I’m pretty sure it’s kids,” Tyson said. “They were looking for money.”

Investigators did not speculate on an age, or if the crime was committed by more than one person. The ECSO does not have a suspect description, but encourages anyone who might have seen anything suspicious in that neighborhood to come forward.

“We have had some churches in Effingham County that have been burglarized in recent years,” Ehsanipoor said. “Our statistics show that the Sheriff’s Office does end up solving most of them.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office at 754-3449.

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