THE BURGLAR/burglars who broke into the Salvation Army’s Kingstown building last week left no stone unturned as they searched in the church, offices and day-care for money, after which they made off with over $12,000.
“I’m alive, we’re alive, regardless of what is going on, what we have experienced, but we still give God praise,” Major Ernest Gachelin told SEARCHLIGHT on Friday, July 9.
This is not the first time that dishonest characters have made the church and charitable organisation a target; as recent as May 2020 when the church in Calder was burglarised.
The Major and his wife were the last to leave the building at around 5:30pm on July 6, and they secured all the doors, and locked the gates,he told SEARCHLIGHT. On Thursday morning, at around 7/7:30am they received a call from one of the workers saying that the gate, the day-care door, and the secretary’s door were open. They also found that a mattress from the day-care had been moved in front of the secretary’s office, and they assumed that whoever the culprit or culprits, the mattress was used to sleep after their laborious criminal activities.
From marks on a wall by the day-care, it would appear as though the individual/ individuals did some climbing to get to other areas in the building.
When the Major and his wife arrived, they discovered that both their offices had been broken into and thoroughly ransacked. There were various sums that had not been deposited to the bank as yet, but had been intended to be banked on Thursday – the burglar/burglars discovered and took these.
“Overall, what we know, it might be more than that,” Gachelin informed, “it’s about $12,077.”
About $6220 was related to the school and was meant to go towards the salaries of those who work at the day-care and school.
Some of the remaining sum is the savings that a women’s group collected to be returned to them at the end of the year.
It seems that the individual/ individuals were solely after cash, as no other items appear to have been stolen.
The Salvation Army does not have security around the building, but there are cameras nearby.
They are in the process of changing the locks, and are considering making other changes as well.
“…We will have to work out something because we can’t afford to have
people breaking the place, that’s ridiculous. I didn’t expect something like this…” the Major commented.
“I hope that they will get the people who did that, and my hope is that that person or those persons repent. Repent, surrender their lives to Christ,” he said.
He further stressed, “I don’t really like anything to happen to them, but just, I would love to know that they repent of what they have done and they surrender their lives to Christ before it is too late for them.”
Day-care worker Fenella Woodley has been with the organisation for 17 years, but it is the first time that the upstairs where the daycare is located was also targeted by ill-intended figures.
“…It was frightening because we met a bed there, which we assume that the person slept here… because the other teacher said it was closed when she came and then when she came back out it was open,” Woodley revealed.
“I would have been the one coming to open here, so in any event when I open I would have met the perpetrator right here so it was frightening.”
“..The Salvation Army has been giving and giving and it’s sad that people could come and take…I mean we know it’s a regular thing, ‘thief’ don’t have any conscience, they steal from anywhere, but it’s sad,” she said. Surrounding her as she spoke were some of the 25 children the day-care looks after, which is in addition to the 45 that the neighbouring pre-school (which was not broke into) oversees.
She was hopeful that some of the money could be recovered because she didn’t think all of it would have been spent already. She also noted the presence of CCTV cameras, and the belief that the perpetrator/ s left in daylight.
The matter has been reported to the police who have taken statements, but up to the time of going to press the culprit/culprits as well as those who broke into the Church last year have apparently yet to be found.