(Summary of earlier reports and updates on losses)
Authorities in four southwest Iowa Counties are investigating a rash of recent church burglaries. At least 10 churches were targeted. The Cass County Sheriff’s Office says burglaries occurred at two churches near Lyman, sometime between Jan. 6th and the 9th. Churches in the Montgomery County towns of Villisca and Stanton were the target of thieves sometime last Thursday or Friday. Authorities in Page County are investigating numerous church burglaries in the county, and one in Clarinda. The incidents are believed to have occurred over the last five days, with the most recent one on Monday. And two more church burglaries took place in Taylor County, one of which also happened on Monday. Area law enforcement agencies are working together to try and solve the crimes, which are believed to be related. Cash appears to be the primary motive, according to the authorities, but electronic equipment is also a target
In Cass County, authorities say a person or persons unknown entered the Noble Center United Methodist Church in rural Lyman, by prying the lock from the back door. Burglars took a Power Point projector, a microphone, and an amplifier, with a combined value of $1,500. St John’s United Church of Christ, near Lyman, was also targeted, with thieves grabbing a latte machine, six boxes of flavor packets and about 20 bottles of water. The loss was estimated at $200. Anyone with any information regarding these break-ins is encouraged to contact the Cass County Sheriff’s Office at 712-243-2206.
Page County Sheriff Lyle Palmer is asking area residents to call his office or your local law enforcement agency if they see something suspicious. All but one of the break-ins in Page County and Clarinda involved forced entry to the Churches. A Cash reward of up to $1000.00 is available for information leading to the arrest and indictment of person’s involved. Tipsters can remain anonymous.
In Montgomery County, Sheriff Joe Sampson says the Presbyterian and Mamreland Lutheran Churches in Villisca and Stanton were hit, with damage and losses amounting to about $2,000. At the Mamrelund Lutheran Church in Stanton, thieves got away with electronic equipment. Anyone with information about the incidents is asked to call the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office at 712-623-5107, or Crimestoppers at 1-800-432-1001.
The Taylor County Sheriff’s Office says one of the burglaries was reported Saturday at a church in Guss, where $250 in audio equipment was stolen. Another incident was reported Monday at a Siam church, which sustained approximately $300 in damage.
Authorities are recommending churches make sure the building is locked, not to keep cash on the premises, and secure electronic equipment, when possible.