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Warning issued after fourth church break-in

By Dwayne Parker, Reporter, DParker@wfmz.com
Published On: Mar 13 2014 09:34:39 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 14 2014 08:06:18 AM CDT

A group of pastors in Reading is fighting back against the burglars who keep targeting churches in Berks County.

READING, Pa. -

A group of pastors in Reading is fighting back against the burglars who keep targeting churches in Berks County.

Thursday afternoon, the head of the Association of Hispanic Pastors, Felipe Fana, was notifying pastors in his organization.

Police say the number of churches in Berks County, ransacked by criminals, has risen to four.

All the churches were burglarized within the past two weeks, official said.

The most recent happening at the New Jerusalem Zion United Church of Christ in Greenwich Township.

"It puts the church in a really difficult situation," said Fana. "So, I say please, stop doing that. Don't do it again."

Holy Trinity Church of God and Christ on Buttonwood Street in Reading was also burglarized.

Its pastor, Robert Brookins, says it's all evidence that the church's work here on earth is not done.

"We need to work harder because, if we could reach that person with the word of God and the love of God, they would not have done this. So we have a job to do," said Pastor Brookins.

Until these criminals decide to mend their ways, Brookins says he will be telling his pastors to install alarm systems in their churches.

But in the end, Brookins says the doors of his church will always been open, even to those who burglarized his church.

"To come to the church," said Brookins, "and we will forgive them of their doing and love them and try to help them as much as we possibly can."

Police may not be so forgiving.

If found guilty these criminals could face significant time behind bars.

In light of the burglaries, police say they will be stepping up patrols around churches.

If you know anything that can help police make arrests in these break-ins, call Crime Alert Berks County at (877) 373-9913.

You can call anonymously, and you could earn a reward for information leading to an arrest.