Suspects sought in church break-ins
Crime Stoppers of Lenawee is asking for the public’s help with information about several church break-ins that have occurred since August 12, 2012 in Lenawee County, and in the surrounding counties, and investigators believe that all of these church break-ins in the surrounding areas are all related to the Lenawee County cases.
Tecumseh Police Chief Troy Stern said there have been no reported break-ins within the city limits yet, however officers are on the lookout.
“The nearest church break-ins so far have been on Tecumseh-Clinton Road and one on Occidental Highway,” Stern said. “But we’re very aware they’re working in our area and we’re paying attention to that.”
Local investigators have learned that the Fulton county Sheriff Department in Ohio, Washtenaw County Sheriff Department, Monroe County Sheriff Department, Hillsdale County Sheriff Department, Michigan State Police, and several other police agencies in Michigan have also handled several church break-ins during this same time in their areas.
In almost all of the above cases the suspects ransacked the office areas of the churches, and opened drawers, and file cabinet drawers looking for items to steal after entering the Church by prying open doors and windows to gain access into the Church.
The first incident in Lenawee County occurred on or about August 13 on N. Rollin Hwy., and US-223, Manitou Beach, in Woodstock Township. The suspect entered the church by prying the double wood entry doors. Several other locked doors inside the church, as well as desk drawers, were also pried open. The suspect pried the dial from the safe, but did not gain access to the safe. The suspect(s) only caused damage to the church.
The second incident occurred on August 13 or 14 on M-50 near US 12, Brooklyn, in Cambridge Township. The suspect(s) entered the church by prying open a door. Once inside the church, the suspect went room to room opening drawers and cabinets. The suspect(s) only caused damage to the church.
The third incident occurred between August 12 and 13 on US-127 near US-223, in Addison, in Woodstock Township. The suspect(s) entered the church by forcing the back door open, and once inside, the suspect went through the office opening cupboards and file cabinets. The suspect(s) took a metal can that contained $402 for Bible School children.
Investigators have learned that on August 12, two similar break-ins occurred at a church on M-34 near Hillsdale, and the other on US-12 near US-223. Investigators believe that all of these incidents are related due to the method used by the suspect(s).
The fourth incident occurred on September 4 on US-223 near Ogden Hwy., Adrian, in Palmyra Township. The suspect entered the church through a vent. Once inside, the suspect pried open doors and drawers. The alarm was activated and the suspect fled the scene. Officers arrived within four minutes and a K-9 tracked to an area near the roadway. The suspect(s) only caused damage to the church.
The fifth incident occurred on October 12 on Sims Hwy., in Morenci. The suspects entered the building through a window and once inside they forced open doors to offices in the building. The suspect(s) then went through desks and file cabinets in the office area. The suspect(s) only caused damage to the church.
The sixth incident occurred on October 12 in Ogden Township. The suspect(s) entered the building through a door and went to the office area. Once inside, the suspects went through desks and file cabinets. The suspect(s) stole money from a vending machine in the church.
Investigators have learned that on October 12 during the nighttime hours, Fulton County, Ohio, had six similar church break-ins that they are investigating. Fulton County investigators are working with Lenawee County investigators.
The seventh incident occurred on October 29 in the 9000 block of Ridge Hwy. in Macon Township. The suspect(s) broke out a window to the church. Once inside, the suspect(s) opened desk and file cabinet drawers. At this time nothing appears to have been stolen, but the church suffered damage.
The eighth incident also occurred on October 29 in the 11000 block on Tecumseh-Clinton Road, Clinton Township. The suspect(s) entered through a window. Once inside, the suspect(s) ransacked the church, tipping over the podium. The suspect(s) stole $500 in cash for a missionary trip.
The ninth incident was attempted on October 29 in the 10000 block on Tecumseh-Clinton Road, Clinton Township. The suspect(s) attempted to gain entry to the church, but were unable to get in.
The tenth incident occurred on or about November 23 in the 5800 block of Occidental Hwy., Raisin Township. The suspect(s) gained entry by prying a door open and once inside the suspect(s) stole a backpack and change in a change box.
The eleventh incident occurred on or about November 24 in the 2600 block of Bent Oak Hwy., Adrian Township. The suspect(s) gained entry through a window and once inside, stole money from an envelope marked “candy money.”
Police have released photos depicting two males who are persons of interest. Those who may know them are encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers with their identity. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers of Lenawee. Tips may now be texted to 27436; start the tip with “Lenawee.”
Crime Stoppers is asking for help from the public. Those who have any information about this case should call 517.266.6161 or 877.276.8477. Online tips may be made by visiting www.tipsubmit.com. Tips may be left anonymously. Crime Stoppers is an organization made up of police media and community members.
Any tips that lead to the arrest of the responsible person or persons will earn the caller a cash reward. Identities will be protected. More Crime Stopper cases and Lenawee’s Most Wanted may be found on www.lenawee.mi.us.com, at the Sheriff Department link.