RICHMOND, Ind. - Eastern Indiana police say burglars stole thousands of dollars' worth of appliances and food from a Richmond church that helps feed people in need.
Wayne County Sheriff Jeff Cappa calls the burglary of the North 27 Worship Center "just deplorable" considering the church's mission of helping people by providing them with food.
Authorities say burglars backed a truck up to the rear of the church on April 16 and stole a refrigerator, stainless steel cooking utensils and cookware, microwave ovens and coffee makers.
Pastor Robert Johnson said more than $500 worth of food was also stolen from the church's food pantry ministry, the Palladium-Item reported.
He says the burglars also removed a large amount of frozen food from a freezer and left it behind to thaw and spoil.
Overall, the loss adds up to about $8,000.
"It just angers me that people are so uncaring, so unthoughtful, that they came in and thy did these things," Johnson said.
Johnson told RTV6 he thinks drug addicts might be behind the break-in. The Wayne County sheriff would not confirm that suspicion, but he said the investigation is going well.
"I appreciate your question, but due to the fact that I don't want to let out too much info on who we are looking at and why, I will answer that by saying we have pretty good info on what we're looking at," Sheriff Jeff Cappa said.
To keep out other intruders, a new security system has been installed. To restock the shelves, the pantry has to rely on donations from the community.
Dot Foods in Cambridge City has already stepped forward to help.
"We're a business that tries to give back to the community when there is a need," said Dot Foods General Manager Randy Templin. "We thought this was a great opportunity. Any other businesses or individuals that want to help because there are hungry people out there, I encourage them to do so."
Johnson said he is looking toward the future.
"This is not going to stop us," Johnson said. "I know God will meet the need because there are tenderhearted, good-hearted people out there, and they will respond to this need. I know we'll recover from this."
The church's food giveaways serve more than 200 people a month. A giveaway is still scheduled for Saturday.
To contribute to the pantry, call Pastor Johnson at 765-960-5900.