Thief Steals $1,000 Worth of Food from Church Pantry

WAYNE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- West Virginia State Police are working to track down whoever broke into a local church's food pantry and got away with an estimated $1,000 worth of food.

The pastor at the East Lynn Church of God says it's devastating someone would not only target the pantry, but also essentially steal from local families struggling to put food on the table.

"Whenever we arrived, we noticed that someone had kicked the door in," Pastor Jody Lucas said. "The freezer was pretty well stocked full of supplies, and there's very little left in it now. So they just about cleaned us out completely."

The pantry serves nearly 50 families each month. Lucas worries now, though, this break-in could hurt those in need.

"It is sad when you come in and you take the amount of food you have taken, knowing how many people rely upon our pantry," Lucas said.

According to Lucas, investigators have a few leads, and even found a foot print where the front door was kicked in. It's a crime Lucas says the church won't put up with.

"It's not going to be tolerated," Lucas said. "It's not acceptable for someone to come in and do what they've done. Because it's not just the pantry that they're hurting. It is the community."

Lucas is prepared to press charges if someone is caught. He said the church is now going to spend money for new security, including steel doors, cameras and a monitoring system.

He says the saddest part of this is the criminal could have simply asked for food, and the church would have gladly given it out free of charge.

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