Burglars targeted a Slidell church early Friday morning, stealing approximately $35,000 of items including a vehicle and electronic equipment.
The suspects broke into First Baptist Church of Slidell, located in the 100 block of County Road 2822.
“They crawled in through a window in the nursery and ransacked the place,” said pastor Bobby Cates.
They proceeded to steal the church van along with all the electronic equipment they could carry out including sound equipment, televisions and the pastor’s personal computer.
“I’ve been here six years and we’ve never had anything like this happen,” Cates said. “No vandalism. No robberies.”
The van was recovered later that morning after it was located just off a nearby county road, barely hidden behind trees.
Cates said the suspects appeared to know the layout of the church, since they even knew where a ladder was stored which they used to reach some of the items they stole.
“I don’t think it’s an active member of the church, but it could have been someone who’s been here before,” Cates said. “We forget a lot of people are really hurting and are desperate – especialy people dealing with addiction or the consequences of making a series of bad decisions.
“Hopefully, one day, I’ll be able to see them face-to-face and tell them I forgive them.”
Wise County Sheriff’s Office was already tracking down possible leads Friday.