Man stole money from 2 churches in Lawrence

Surveillance photo of man who stole money from local churches

LAWRENCE, Ind. — Police are looking for a man accused of stealing from two churches in Lawrence. Both thefts happened within weeks of one another.

In the most recent case, the thief even made up an excuse to district the church members.

“We are trusting people, we look for the good in people,” said Linda Hogue, administrative director at Lawrence United Methodist.

On January 7, church members told police a man walked into Lawrence United Methodist Church and claimed he lost his phone there.

“We were helping him look for it. The deposit was in her bag, getting ready to go to the bank, and he just picked it up and ran out. They tried to run out and catch him, but he was gone,” said Hogue.

The thief was supposedly in and out in less than 10 minutes, taking off with the deposit bag full of money from Sunday’s church services.

This wasn’t the first church the thief hit. A few days before Christmas, Cornerstone Baptist Church reported a theft.

“If somebody needed help, these folks would be the first people to respond to that call, that need. To think that somebody would steal from them is gully,” said Gary Woodruff, Deputy Chief with the Lawrence Police Department.

In the case at Cornerstone Baptist, the thief snuck in and took off with an employee’s purse. The thief was caught on camera and seen driving away in a dark colored Lincoln sedan.

“I just hope he learns from it and won’t do it to anyone else,” said Hogue.

Most likely, this thief saw churches as an easy target. Despite dealing with the crime, the congregation’s faith is still strong as ever.

“We forgive him. We hope he feels sorry for what he did,” said Hogue.

If you recognize the man in the picture or the vehicle, call 262-TIPS.

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