Robberies strain church’s efforts, but pastor refuses to leave community behind

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- People at an Independence church are praying for a miracle. They say a man has been stealing from them and now they're having trouble helping their community.

Police haven't caught the guy responsible and now a pastor worries how they'll continue to help the community when they're constantly paying for repairs.

“We feel that God has put us in this community to help this community out,” Pastor Richard Williams said.

A plan the Bible Fellowship Center has put into action with dozens of outreach programs and packed lunches for a nearby school. But recent thefts have made it hard for Pastor Williams to keep up.

“It's been an ongoing thing and we wanna try to get it stopped,” he said.

Pastor Williams said his surveillance footage showed a  man on his property. Within weeks two security cameras have been ripped from the church, and a door kicked in, totaling thousands of dollars in repairs.

“At first I thought, maybe we need to pull up our roots and leave,” Pastor Williams said.

But instead of turning his back, he is speaking up in hopes his community will follow suit.

“When I've asked questions to some people, nobody wants to get involved,” he said.

A few surveillance cameras remain and the door was replaced. No matter what happens, Pastor Williams says he refuses to close it on his neighbors.

“We just want to be a part of the community,” he said.

Police say the suspect has also stolen from a nearby bank and homes in the area. They're asking for help identifying him, if you know anything they ask you call the TIPS Hotline at (816)-474-TIPS.

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