In a rare move, the Fulton County Sheriff Department was called to help solve a series of church break-ins, including churches in the Archbold and Pettisville area.
The break-ins first began in Fulton County starting Friday, Oct. 12. It is believed they are connected to other break-ins within the same time period in Lenawee, Washtenaw, Monroe, and Hillsdale counties in Michigan.
In a press release, Darrell Merillat, Fulton County sheriff, said, “In almost all of the… cases, the suspects ransacked the offices area of the churches, and opened drawers and file cabinets, looking for items to steal.”
The burglars usually “entered the church by prying open doors and windows to gain access.”
Merillat said Michigan authorities obtained photos of a suspect from a security camera at one of the break-in sites.
In Archbold, Templo Cristiano was broken-in on Oct. 12. Thieves pried open a window to get inside. Offi ces were ransacked, and locked drawers and safes were opened. An undisclosed amount of cash was taken.
On the same date, Pettisville Missionary church was broken into.
Thieves broke a window to get inside, and then damaged six interior doors.
Drawers and cabinets were searched, and a filing cabinet was damaged; several things were moved.
A computer monitor, cordless drill, and small flashlight were stolen.
•Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church, Fayette; was broken into on Oct. 12; a locked door was pried open, door damaged; nothing taken.
•Tedrow Mennonite, Tedrow; broken into on Oct. 12; window broken; drawers and cabinets opened; damage done to an inside door, nothing missing.
•Tedrow United Methodist, broken into on Oct. 12; door pried open; drawers and cabinets opened; nothing missing, no damage.
•Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Wauseon; broken into on Oct. 13; office window pried open; offices ransacked, seven interior doors damaged; a projector, valued at $1,500, was taken.
•East Chesterfield Church of Christ, rural Lyons; broken into sometime between Oct. 21-Oct. 25; rear door pried open, door damaged, motion sensor disabled by cutting wires above door; nothing disturbed or missing.
•North Dover United Methodist Church, breakin reports taken Nov. 2 and Nov. 7, first occurrence may have happened Oct. 21-22; front door pried open, nothing missing or disturbed.
Sheriff Department offi cials ask that anyone with information about the crimes contact FCSD at 419- 335-4010, or use the toll-free Fulton County Crime Stopper hotline, 1-800-255-1122. Calls are confidential and anonymous.
Persons providing information about these or any other felony crimes are eligible for cash rewards up to $1,000.
In addition to FCSD and several Michigan law enforcement agencies, the Archbold, Fayette, and Wauseon police departments are working on the investigation.