TULSA - A north Tulsa church plagued by years of theft is getting a fresh start through the donation of security equipment by a local company.
That company, Security by Black, installed door and motion sensors, a cellular communicator and sirens at the Lakeview Heights Baptist Church in north Tulsa Friday.
It's a small gesture for a church that's been robbed close to 50 times in the last two years alone.
Darold Bruton, the church's pastor since 2005, said there was no limit to what thieves were willing to take from the church.
"Sound system, TV, VCRs, seven, eight microwaves, toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates, silverware. Only thing they didn't take was anything they couldn't carry. Even a wheelchair, two karaoke machines, I mean, whatever they could carry," Bruton said.
Bruton's congregation is small, having a little more than a handful of people attending church services. The impact on the church by thieves, however, has been much greater.
Bruton says the much needed upgrades in security will allow the church to reinvest in its facilities instead of replacing them.
"It's a large church, but it's a very small family here and we just don't have the money to keep replacing what people think they need more than we do," he said.
Part of that reinvestment will begin with donations received a week ago to improve the fellowship hall. From there, Bruton will tackle bigger projects like the air conditioning unit, which was also recently stolen.
"We want to upgrade, like I said, the fellowship hall. I'd like to upgrade more in the sanctuary, put us a nice sound system in. You know, update it. Get it up to date. Get it modernized," the pastor said.
"Before we can do anything in the fellowship hall, we got to have an air conditioner, so I'd like to get that replaced also. You know, it's just put the money back into our church and get it back up to where it belongs."
Bruton said he doesn't hold a grudge against the robbers and believes the gospel can help them to a better path. He says he's even willing to hold a church service after dark to catch the thieves as they enter.
"They're coming to church. It's just the wrong time, and we're just not here. I don't know how I'm going to get the message out, but we're going to have a service between midnight and one o'clock till whenever so I'll be here when you want to be here."
Security by Black installed the system at no cost to the church.