The latest church to be burglarized is Mt. Zion Baptist Church located just off Highway 80 near Cuba. Monday it was reported that a propane wall heater, vacuum cleaner and picture of the Lord's Supper was stolen from the church. However, this is not the first time the church has been burglarized. In September it's sound system was stolen.
Mt. Zion is not alone. At least two other churches have been burglarized within the last two months, including Fourth Creek Baptist Church where again a propane wall heater, C.D. player and speakers were taken.
Sumter County Sheriff Johnny Hatter says there appears to be a pattern. For one thing, he says all of the churches are located within ten miles of each other. Also, in each burglary he says similar items are being taken.
In September Siloam Baptist Church located just outside Cuba was burglarized. During that burglary a keyboard, television, DVD player, mirrors and several pictures of Jesus were stolen.
Although none of the stolen items have been located, Sheriff Hatter says it's possible that the same person or persons are committing the burglaries and selling them, an offense, which he says, carries a serious penalty.
"It all depends. Burglary usually carries two to twenty years in jail. Receiving stolen property is one to ten. It can get you many years in prison," Sheriff Hatter.
With no arrests or suspects so far, Sheriff Hatter is asking residents to be on alert for anything that looks suspicious at churches in the area. Anyone with information on the burglaries is asked to call the Sumter County Sheriff's Department at (205) 652-7984.
"We don't have a reward to give," says Sheriff Hatter "but if you help us solve this the good Lord will give you a reward!"