Thief ransacks church’s food pantry, office and Valentine’s candy jar

EARLE, Ark. — It seems nothing is sacred after a shameless thief ransacked a church's food pantry, kitchen and office in Earle, Arkansas.

"I arrived Sunday morning," said Earle Baptist Church Pastor, Tony Wells. "I realized something is wrong. We had been broken into. I called 911."

Wells said a thief broke through the back window early Sunday morning.

"We have them on camera, but the camera was not on alert. It was on record," he said.

When the alarm didn't sound, Wells said the thief started clearing the shelves in the food pantry. He took items the church gives to those in need.

"That's one of the things the Sheriff's Office said, 'How many people do you help?' As many as 20 families a week or 20 families a month. It just depends," said Wells.

He said the crook then ransacked the kitchen and cleared the refrigerator.

The thief was also destructive. He tried to get into other rooms by kicking in a wall.

"We spent about three hours just cleaning up debris. Things like that off the floor," said Wells.

If that weren't enough, Wells said the crook also grabbed candy from the Valentine's jar up front and ate it while he rifled through the church.

"We even had a stack of candy on the floor in the pantry," he said as he shook his head.

The thief then made his way to the office where he picked up a fire extinguisher and used it to pry off some tempered glass to unlock the door.

Wells said a checkbook and some cash are now missing.

"We would have helped. We would have helped. We try to not turn anyone away," said Wells.

Deputies said cameras didn't catch a clear picture of the man, but they are helping them put together a timeline and providing leads.

"That's our only savior except for Christ," said Wells. "I pray that not only will they find justice with the law, but they find justice with the Lord. "

Wells said he will be installing a new alarm system.

Meanwhile, deputies are offering up to a $2,000 reward if you can help catch who did it. Just call Crime Stoppers at 870-732-4444.

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