Church Victimized

Members said they don't want anyone arrested, but just want their money back.

The burglary happened sometime overnight Tuesday at First Pentecostal Church of God on Old Marion Road in Meridian.

Apparently, the burglar or burglars broke into a window at the back of the building leading directly into the church's main finance office, where they searched the file cabinets.

"We have a money jar for our scholarship foundation. It's about a $500 jug that they put money in each service time and then that was gone and there was about $500 in that particular jug that we keep right up under the desk here," said Bishop Marcela Evins, Sr., pointing to the place where it had stood.

Other areas that were broken into include the supervisor's office for the church's women's department and also the bishop's office upstairs. Because only specific offices were targeted and only money taken, officials say they believe it was an inside job.

"Here's the desk that they broke into. I had a safe under there and they took the whole safe from under there and then they just ransacked the whole place, you know," said Evins.

Church officials say that at least $6,000 was stolen from the church. And while the perpetrator might have been someone with ties to the church, they don't necessarily want an arrest.

"We don't want to see somebody sit in jail for 5 or 10 years just for this," Evins said. "All we want is for them to return what they've stolen."

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Meridian police at 485-1893.