Police are investigating to see whether three church break-ins in Brown County over the past month are connected to similar crimes in Bartholomew County.
Way of Holiness Tabernacle in Morgantown, St. Agnes Catholic Church in Nashville and Pike’s Peak Church of Christ in Van Buren Township all experienced similar types of break-ins.
Brown County Sheriff’s Department Detective Brian Shrader says he’s working with Bartholomew County on the investigation.
“Me and the detective working the case from Bartholomew County have been in contact virtually everyday,” Shrader says. “We feel very confident that there are similarities in our cases so moving forward we’re working the case jointly.”
Vandals entered Way of Holiness Tabernacle through an unlatched door on June 21. Police say they stole a few items and vandalized the church.
St. Agnes Catholic Church officials reported a burglary and vandalism July 6. Police say the intruders broke out a window in the parish office and turned a cross upside down in the Youth Barn near the church.
Police think vandalism at Pikes Peak Church of Christ happened between July 6 and July 7; someone threw trash throughout the building.
Shrader says there are consistencies in the types of damage done to the churches in both Brown and Bartholomew Counties.
“Bartholomew County released that a cross was turned upside down, we’ve had a similar case of that at one of our churches and then a phrase that was put on their Churches was similar to a phrase that was put on all three of our churches,” he says.
Bartholomew County police are investigating vandalism at three churches, as well. Police in both counties are increasing patrols and security as a result of the crimes.
Shrader says a community effort to watch churches at night and the installation of video cameras would be helpful in preventing further break-ins.
So far police haven’t made any arrests.