Parishioners of Brookfield United Methodist Church who arrived early to prepare for the Sunday worship service discovered that the church had been broken into sometime late Saturday or early Sunday.
Pastor Dick Smith said the thief got into the main office and the preschool office.
“They did some damage,” Smith said. “They were obviously looking for cash. They did steal funds from us.”
Brookfield police said the thief got away with more than $1,500 cash, a Visa debit card loaded with $500 and a safe.
A parishioner found a smashed office window, police said. In addition to the stolen safe, which was unbolted from the floor, drawers were open and gone through, a desk drawer was broken off, a filing cabinet was pushed over and a closet door was pried open and broken, police said.
The church at 6951 Grove St. had held a spaghetti dinner fundraiser Saturday evening and money from that event was in the building, Smith said.
Police said the break-in occurred between about 9 p.m. Saturday and 10:25 a.m. Sunday.
Although the church was a crime scene Sunday morning, church services were held as usual.
“We talked about it,” Smith said of the burglary. “We prayed about it. We are an active church in the community. We provide a lot of activities in the community. That will not impede us.”
Those activities include a food pantry and contributing to the Backpack Program, which provides food to some Brookfield school students.
“We do a lot of things to help people,” Smith said. “This is not going to get in the way of that.”
The church will hold a board meeting tonight to discuss “measures that we need to take to help prevent this in the future,” he said.
It was not the first break-in at the church, although it was the first during Smith’s tenure. People have setbacks in their lives, and churches are no different, he said.
“It’s a shame that this happens,” he said. “It’s a shame that there are people in this community that do these things. We’re concerned about people that need help. It’s not something ordinary people do. We pray for them.”