Church members cope with loss after suspect breaks into their church

Church members cope with loss after suspect breaks into their church

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The members of a Socastee church continue to cope with their loss after a person broke into the building earlier this month.

Those who walk through the Socastee Original Free Will Baptist Church will see the various ways the suspect tried to get into the church before finally forcing his way inside.

Edna Flowers, who teaches Sunday school and is a church trustee, said she is still discovering missing items when she goes to use them. One of them is a classroom heater.

Flowers was one of several to discover the church had been burglarized. While Horry County police believe the incident happened on Jan. 12, Preacher Thomas Grainger said members of the congregation found out Jan. 14, when they returned to the church to clean up Christmas decorations.

"I could not believe the amount of damage to that back door. That's a solid metal door," Flowers said.

The door held up so much that the suspect had to find another way in. The entry point was a 

"There was glass everywhere," Flowers said. "I think we were still finding pieces of glass the next day. We tried vacuuming it up, picking it up, getting it all out of here. But it was a mess."

The next door to get a beating was the sound room door. Nearly a dozen microphones and speakers were taken from the area.

"We have no idea what some of this stuff was worth," Flowers said.

The person who broke in also ripped the microphones off the stands and a speaker from the front of the church, took a computer monitor out of an office, and walked off with backpacks filled with goods intended for children in Pakistan.

What those at the Socastee Original Freewill Baptist church find most troubling, though, is not that this man seemed to know what he was going for, but where he stole from.

"I think people should have more respect for churches," Flowers said. "I mean this is supposed to be the house of God. This is not our house; this is God's house. We are praying for whoever it is that took it. They need Jesus in their life."

Flowers said one of her biggest fears is that another church or home will be next. Police said the man got away in a dark-colored, older model Ford F150.

Anyone with information should contact the Horry County Police Department.

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