Thursday, July 20, 2000

Burglaries can't silence churches

Thieves grab sound, video equipment

By Lew Moores
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NORWOOD — Police are investigating a series of burglaries at Norwood churches that may be related.

        Four churches have been broken into six times since late April; the latest occurred July 12. Police estimate that thousands of dollars worth of sound equipment was taken in each burglary.

        “It's been electronics equipment, microphones, amplifiers, that type of thing,” said Norwood Police Lt. Steve Crowe. “We believe it's probably the same people doing it. However, we haven't got any leads on who that is. None of the equipment has turned up yet. Obviously, it has caused some of the churches problems.”

        Robert Head, music director for the New Bethel Baptist Church on Norwood Avenue, said someone broke into the church between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, July 12 and 13.

        They broke out a back window that led into the basement, which wasn't discovered until a church worker noticed the broken glass on Thursday, said Mr. Head.

        “They took a lot of sound and some video equipment,” he said. “It looked like they specifically were after sound equipment.”

        A large mixing board was also missing, as well as two cassette decks, monitors and some microphones.

        “It looked like they took everything out of the same window they came in,” said Mr. Head.

        The theft caused some disruption of church services. A wedding had been planned for that Saturday, and the church had to rent equipment.

        “We also had a Sunday service,” said Mr. Head, who added the church has insurance on the items taken. “We'll probably have to rent some equipment this weekend to get through the service.”

        There was no desecration involved in the theft, nor at any of the other churches.

        While New Bethel Baptist Church was the latest, three other churches have been burglarized in recent months.

        According to Norwood police reports:

        • Trinity Pentecostal Church on Norwood Avenue was broken into twice between April 23 and 25, and again April 30 or May 1.

        Taken were a keyboard, speaker, amplifier, mixing board, microphones and a bass guitar.

        • Liberty Baptist Church on Carthage Avenue was hit between May 29 and June 4. It appeared nothing was taken, according to the report.

        • Norwood Wesleyan Church on Warren Avenue was broken into between July 6 or 7, and again July 9. Taken were a television set, VCR, a mixing console, cassette recorder and sound equipment. Craig Ruttle Robert Head, musical director of New Bethel Baptist Church, stands in the sanctuary where audio equipment was stolen last week. The church may be forced to rent equipment to conduct services.


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