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Tiny Val Verde church looted by burglars

Posted: December 10, 2013 5:27 p.m.
Updated: December 10, 2013 5:27 p.m.

Pastor Ismael Estrada examines the damage left behind on Tuesday morning after a break-in and burglary of sound equipment, musical instruments and cash at the New Life Apostolic Church in Jesus Christ in Val Verde. Signal photo by Dan Watson


Burglars looted and trashed a small church in Val Verde during the weekend, stealing its sound system and a modest offering, ripping up Bibles in an apparent frenzied search for valuables.

“They were looking for money,” Pastor Ishmael Estrada said Tuesday as he stood inside the church and surveyed the damage left in the burglars’ wake.

The mess on the tiny church’s floor included ripped Bibles and overturned chairs. Items were strewn around the base of Estrada’s pulpit in the New Life Apostolic Church in Jesus Christ, and burglars ripped the protective screens from the base of the alter in an apparent attempt to steal speakers secured there.

The church remained in a shambles Tuesday because Estrada and his and his congregation of about 35 couldn’t clean up until Sheriff’s Department crime scene investigators arrived to photograph and take fingerprints in the damage, he said.

“I hope they come today,” Estrada said Tuesday, “because we want to fix things up for our church service tomorrow.”

What saddens him most, Estrada said, was that the thieves may be among his parishioners since they apparently knew the items left in the church.

“They stole everything,” said his adult daughter Sandra Avila. “They stole a Fender guitar, amps, a bass guitar, they took the cases, a sound board, a DVD player and two speakers.”

“And even they took some offerings,” she added.

Burglars broke into a side door of the structure on Morningside Drive during the weekend, Estrada said — and it wasn’t the first time. He said he hopes to collect enough money to invest in a security system for the church.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt




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