Pastor to church thieves: 'We are going to pray for you'

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Church leaders came to Forrest Heights Missionary Baptist Church Saturday morning to set up for a funeral. Deacon George Franklin said when they turned on the air conditioner, it never kicked on. That's when they went outside and found six of the seven units were missing.

"The people who is doing this really ought to be ashamed of themselves," Franklin said.

Several of the units were locked up behind a fence. Thieves cut through a chain and wires and took off with the air conditioners. This is the second time burglars have stolen from the church in just three months.

"There are people not having respect for God's house," Franklin said, "and we feel they are doing this for their benefit."

Less than half a mile away, another empty concrete slab can be found behind People Mission Baptist Church.

"It is hurting me so bad," Pastor Lillie Nichols said. "We must come together in our community and stop whoever is doing this because if they came in the church first, they will also come to your house."

Last year around the same time, Pastor Nichols said intruders ransacked through the church offices and took off with money and equipment.

"We are going to pray for you; We don't have any animosity to you, but please stop," Nichols said.

At Greater Mt. Rest Baptist Church not only did the burglars have to cut through a chain on the fence, they also had to make sure the alarm monitors did not come apart and sound for the police.

Pastor Charles Miskell said, "It puts a burden on the church to replace something that someone just decided to take."

The extra security measures were put in place after the air conditioners were stolen in 2008, but Miskell said it will take the help of the entire community to put a stop to this.

"If you see something suspicious, somebody around that looks like they are working on a unit, at least call the police and get someone to check it out and make sure they are supposed to be there," Miskell said.

If you happened to notice anything suspicious at these churches in the past week, submit a tip to police anonymously: 

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