Church burglar caught on camera stealing items, eating food

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Authorities are searching for a burglar who spent several hours inside a northeast Memphis church Sunday night, stealing a plate of food and other items including a church van.

Staff at the Whitten Memorial Baptist Church were stunned to see the burglar on video, casually walking through their building eating a plate of lasagna more than six hours after he first broke in.

At one point he was carrying a TV monitor and large extension cord.

Surveillance video captured this man taking items from Whitten Memorial Baptist Church.

“He didn’t take more of the expensive things with serial numbers. He took the smaller stuff,” said church administrator Char Selph.

But he did leave with one large item: the van used to bring neighborhood children to church. He used it to carry away some stolen items.

Pastor Benjamin Tally said the congregation is heartbroken about what happened. They said if the man needed something, they would have tried to help. Still, they aren’t going to let it stop them.

“We are not going to let it hold us down,” Tally said. “We still got the white van. We are still going to keep going.”

Two years ago the same church was burglarized in the middle of the day by someone who took guitars and other equipment. Church leaders said tips from the public helped them find the person responsible and they hope that happens again.

The church estimates the latest loss to at $15,000 to $20,000.

“We would like to see repentance and restitution. We would like to see justice,” Talley said.

If you recognize the suspect, call Crime Stoppers at (901) 528-CASH.

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