Police Seek Public's Help Catching Thieves Targeting Rural Churches

Suspects in a string of burglaries have broken into 45 churches in Michigan and Ohio, including several in western Washtenaw County.

The Michigan State Police are asking residents for help to catch a group of thieves breaking into churches across southeast Michigan and Ohio.

The suspects may be connected to at least 45 incidents since August.

According to the Detroit News, the break-ins were reported in Lenawee, Monroe, Washtenaw, Hillsdale, Livingston and Genesee counties, as well as Fulton County, Ohio.

Police investigating the break-ins speculate the crimes are connected, and that the suspects are probably looking for drug money. Rural churches, where pastors or parishioners may not be back for days after a service, are low-risk targets.

Dexter Patch previously reported that four churches in western Washtenaw communities were targeted — including Lima and Bridgewater townships.

Most of the churches targeted didn't have security systems, and were broken into by prying open windows and doors. According to police, the suspects ransacked offices, rifled through drawers and forced open safes. Officials said they've gotten away with cash and computers.

If you have information on any of these incidents or recognize the photos, contact Crime Stoppers anonymous tip line at 1-800-SPEAKUP or the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office confidential tip line number at 734-973-7711.

Is your church doing anything different in light of the recent burglaries? Tell us in the comments.


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