Thief Targets Columbia Church
by Janet Kim
COLUMBIA,Tenn. - Stealing is illegal, and in the eyes of a church, it's a sin. However, that didn't stop a thief from targeting New Life Church in Columbia.
Columbia Police received several calls to lead them to the man they say is responsible. It isn't just what the suspect did, but what he wasn't wearing that caught attention of the community and police.
"What we want to be to the community is opened arm to all people," said New Life Church Pastor Darryl Martin.
This past Sunday though someone decided to help themselves by stealing a cash register in the church's coffee shop after cutting the cord.
The thief stole all the contents and threw it out in a neighborhood nearby.
"We're looking at about $5 in cash, but the cash register in this instance was worth more property wise than what he got-he just got some change," said Columbia Police Lt. Joey Gideon.
Columbia Police worked to develop a suspect, and one of them was a man who made contact with a church pastor earlier in the day asking for gas money. He wasn't wearing a shirt.
Upon further investigation, police say they located surveillance of a man not wearing a shirt at a convenience store nearby the church. Neighbors also began calling in tips.
Stephen Hendricks was arrested on burglary and theft charges. While the church has already forgiven him, it doesn't mean he won't face the consequences.
"This is obviously someone that didn't respect the church and that this was someone else's property," said Gideon. "He wanted the money and he took it in any mean's that he could."
Pastor Martin said his church and others have been a target of theft more than once. It's why he and other pastors have installed security systems to try to prevent them from happening.