Police seek links in Superior Township church break-ins

2 churches invaded early Monday morning in Superior Township

By Guy Gordon - Reporter/Anchor

SUPERIOR TOWNSHIP, Mich. - Police in Superior Township want to know if break-ins at two churches early Monday morning are related.

Someone broke through a window to get into the Dixboro United Methodist Church, the oldest Methodist church in the state of Michigan.

The burglars ransacked offices, ripping open doors and breaking into cabinets.  They took nothing, but Pastor Tonya Arnesen said she got a chilling call about the break-in.

"So I am hearing the horror in his voice change as he is describing to me the mess that he found," Arnsesen said.

A short distance away, someone broke into the New Bethel Church of God and took cash from a donation plate.

From August to December of 2012 there were 53 church break-ins in the area.  While police managed to get security images of the thieves, they were not caught.  Derrick Jackson of the Washtenaw County Sheriff's department, said those thieves might have been transients.

"They could be from northern Ohio, they could be from another county, not Washtenaw County, so we definitely want to look in other areas," Jackson said.

If the thieves were desperate for money, Dixboro Methodist pastor Tonya Arnesen said all they had to do was ask.

"All they had to do was knock, There are any number of ways that we could assist people who come and ask for help," Arnesen said.

Dixboro Methodist, like many churches these days, do not use cash and do most of their banking online. That is why the thieves did not find money to steal.

Church leaders hope that if this happens often enough, the number of break-ins will drop sharply. 

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