(Tate County, MS) The Strayhorn Baptist Church sits off Highway 4 West in Tate County. It’s one of five churches in this quiet area a group of thieves targeted over the last three days.
“It’s sad someone would target a church,” Sr. Pastor Mike Porter said.
Porter says the suspects ransacked offices and tore down doors.
“The file cabinets had been gone through,” he said. “There was a big foot print on the door.”
And a computer was stolen from a room upstairs.
“Times are getting tough and when they are desperate they will do anything,” he said.
The Tate County Sheriff’s Department said a tip lead them to four men: Patrick McGee, 20; Louis Nash, 18; Justin W. Bond, 19; and Rodger D. Cummins, 20.
All are from Senatobia.
The pastor said he has seen two of the suspects at his church before.
One of the suspects was just at church two Sundays ago. He sat in the last pew for the service.
“I was pretty shocked someone would go to that extreme,” Chief Deputy Victor Byrd said.
Investigators said several of the items taken from the churches have been recovered, including guitars and electronic equipment.
“We were able to recover some,” he said. “This investigation is still going on so we are still in the process of trying to get some things back.”
Now as the churches pick up the pieces, Pastor Mike says his congregation has a message to those who trespassed against them.
“We just want them to know that we as a church have forgiveness to them and our hearts and prayers go out to the families we understand as a church we are to forgive.”
The Senatobia police department says all four are also tied to vandalism at the Paradise Baptist church in Senatobia.
We couldn’t ask the suspects their side of the story, because all four are in jail tonight.
They’ll face a judge tomorrow.