REDFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Stunning surveillance video captured the moment when a thief destroyed what he thought was a collection box at a church in Redford Township.
The robbery happened Saturday at Abundant Life Christian Center at Grand River Avenue near Telegraph Road in Redford Township.
Video captured the man picking up the box and smashing it to the ground. He picked it up again, lifted it even higher and finally broke it open. When he rifled through it, he didn't find what he was looking for.
"My first thought was, 'Wow, how would you in your right mind break into the house of God?'" Deacon Tommy Thompson said.
Inside the damaged prayer box wasn't money, but people's most personal requests to God.
"We felt sorry for him because he didn't realize what he was doing," head of security Guy Miller said. "But we know God answers prayers, in a broken box or not."
The thief rode up to the church on his bicycle, went to the side door and popped the lock. With no use for prayers, he kept searching after breaking the box open. He eventually pried open another door and stole a laptop.
"He took his time walking around, like he had no regard for hearing the alarm being triggered," Miller said.
The robbery happened around 7 p.m. Saturday. Police are still searching for the man responsible.
He is described as an older white man wearing a Michigan State shirt.
"We forgive you," Thompson said. "If you need prayer or help, we're here for you. The doors of the church are open."
The church said it's building a new prayer box. In the nine years the church has been at the location, there have been attempted break-ins and vandalism, but none like this.
Anyone with information is asked to call police.