Burglar targets East Side Christian Church in Tulsa; pastor tells burglar to stay for services

TULSA - A church in midtown Tulsa has a different kind of message on their marquee.  It's not about their scheduled services, it's a note to a burglar.

East Side Christian Church is right on the corner of 15th and South Indianapolis Avenue.  On Sunday, Sept. 22, the church was burglarized.

When the minister and others arrived to set up for the service, they noticed several doors had been broken into and computer equipment was missing.

They also found several trash cans loaded with electronics and food that appeared to be left during the thief's attempt to make a hasty retreat.

The church is calling the burglar out and inviting him to stay. The message on their marquee reads "DEAR BURGLAR NEXT TIME PLEASE STAY FOR WORSHIP."

Nearly all of the food from the church's pantry and kitchen had either been taken or left to spoil in the trash cans.

Associate Minister Daniel U'Ren says it's sad, because much of that food is given to people in need and they would have gladly given it if the suspect would have just asked.

"We have so many people that come in everyday that we give food to anyway, so if it was someone hungry they could have easily stopped by and we would have been glad to give them the food that they needed, but they felt like they needed to break in, in the middle of the night and try to take everything," said U'Ren.

U'Ren says they put up the message to the thief for a couple of reasons:  To let their neighbors know this happened so they can be on alert and so the suspect knows they're not angry.

"A sign of forgiveness, because we would rather him come to worship and if he needed help to ask for help, if we can give it or point him in the right direction of the help that he needs," said U'Ren.

Church leaders say the missing food and equipment is not a crippling loss for them, it's more of a nuisance, but they hope it doesn't happen to anyone else in the area.

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