The Burns Lake Community Church has suffered a setback worth $8,000 in damage and stolen items. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)

Break-in at Burns Lake Community Church

RCMP explores possible connection with the Houston churches' break-ins

  • Apr. 7, 2021 12:00 a.m.

The Burns Lake Community Church had a break-in last month.

“I walked into my office in the morning and was shocked to see a mess. It looked like a scene I’ve seen in movies when burglars ransack a place searching for something in particular. My computer and monitor were missing, plus a laptop and two LCD projectors and a portable amplifier,” said Pastor John Neufeld of the church.

The church located at 530 Kerr Road in Burns Lake was broken into and computers and electronics were taken between Mar. 22 and 23. According to Neufeld, the replacement costs for the stolen and damaged items would be around $8,000.

“A near-empty drinking box was sitting on the floor next to a carved wooden grizzly bear which had been taken off a bookshelf. It made me think a little child might have been there too,” he said.

Neufeld said that the perpetrators had pried open fire escape doors and while most doors were unlocked inside, the one locked door on the balcony was kicked in.

“They didn’t appear to want to do purposeful vandalism,” he remarked. “With papers strewn everywhere it appeared as though the thief was searching for money and/or cheques. Then I looked at our offering box in the foyer and it had been hacked apart. A small amount of cash was taken. Other rooms were ransacked—-for what? I don’t know.”

Earlier last month, two break-ins were reported in Houston, one at the Houston Christian Reformed Church and the second one at the Houston Fellowship Baptist Church. While nothing was stolen at the Houston Christian Reformed Church, over $40,000 worth of electronic equipment was stolen from the Houston Fellowship Baptist Church.

“It’s not a major setback, but it is disheartening to experience such a thing, and extra sad to hear of other churches being targeted,” said Neufeld.

According to the Burns Lake RCMP sergeant Shaunna Lewis, a connection between the break and enters in Houston with similar tactics and property stolen, and the break and enter in Burns Lake is being considered.

“Neighbouring detachments have also been informed. RCMP are asking the public to keep an eye on their urban and rural churches which are recently being targeted by criminals. Please report suspicious activity immediately,” she said.

Neufeld, who was shocked by the events said that he wanted people to understand that buildings are not of utmost importance but people are.

“And, if I hadn’t said “yes” to Jesus myself, to let him change my life many years ago, I could be the one violating other people’s lives and properties too—-because I know that in our human natures, all of us are sinners in need of forgiveness and transformation,” he said.

– with files from Rod Link

Priyanka Ketkar
Multimedia journalist

Like us on Facebook and follows us on Twitter.

Burns Lake Lakes District News