Police seeking suspects in Akron church robbery

(photo supplied / Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office)

The longstanding tradition of churches leaving their doors unlocked was taken advantage of by two alleged thieves caught on camera.

The Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help in identifying two suspects captured on video in the early morning hours of July 9 looting the Beaver Dam United Methodist Church, 9798 W. CR 1000S, Akron.

The sheriff’s office said a white male and female can be seen leaving on an ATV with several hundred dollars worth of property.

Pastor Butch Troke, who has been pastoring the congregation at the church for the past 15 years, said his church’s open door policy will remain in place but he would appreciate it if people don’t take stuff they didn’t walk in with.

“We have people who come in all hours of the day and night and pray and other folks who come in just to be alone,” Troke said. “Our church is out in the middle of nowhere, and the FedEx guy, the sheriff’s deputies, the newspaper lady, they all come in and use the restroom, so it’s a convenience.”

Troke said the goods that were stolen were not very important.

“They took an obsolete tape deck,” he said. “It’s not some state-of-the-art $4,000 piece of equipment. It wasn’t even in use.”

The church has an retired sheriff’s deputy as the head of security and three security officers are present during worship services, Troke said. The security camera system is what will hopefully help police identify the individuals involved.

“It’s a house of worship, and that’s the price of keeping the church open,” Troke said of the theft. “When that price gets to be unbearable, we may have to change something, but we don’t plan on it for now.”

Anyone with information about the incident is urged to contact the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office dispatch at 574-267-5667.