LAUDERDALE LAKES, FLA. (WSVN) - A crook was caught on camera stealing offerings and food from a Lauderdale Lakes church.
The theft happened at All Nations New Testament Church of God Fellowship near Northwest 43rd Street and West Oakland Park Boulevard, at around 6 a.m., Monday.
Bishop Evan Grant, who leads the church, said someone who joined them for Sunday night service hid in the church while they locked up.
The video showed the crook walking around the building and eating food from the the church’s kitchen.
“I cannot believe that you would do this to us,” said Grant. “Sitting in church this Sunday night worshipping, and you have a different intention. You go and you steal most of our money.”
It seemed like a typical Sunday for this church as parishioners gathered as a community for Sunday prayer but, come Monday, things took a costly turn.
“The money, the offering that’s collected Sunday morning and Sunday night that was in the drawer, everything gone,” said Grant.
Grant said once everyone else in the house of worship left for the night, the thief stole what he could get his hands on, besides the cash.
To make matters worse, church officials said, they recognized the man caught on surveillance video as someone who comes for free meals during the week.
“It’s surprising to know he would do something like that because every time he comes by we try to help him with something to eat,” said Hanies Brown, a pastor at the church.
The church’s clergy believes he hid in a room that is currently under construction.
“He could come right back here and stand up very easy so that we would not know someone was left in the church,” said Graham.
“The members have been giving their last dollars ahead of this expansion, and for someone to come and take out of that little that was given from the members, it’s really sad,” said Brown.
But despite the loss, Grant said, there is still plenty of time to do the right thing.
“I just trust in God right now that they will catch him. I’m going to forgive him, and I pray that he will bring back the money that is stolen from church,” said Graham.
Church officials said they know the man’s name but not where he lives.
If you have any information on his whereabouts, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $3,000 reward.
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