Burglars target computer drives

Sat, 12/22/2007 - 9:40am
By: Ben Nelms

A relatively new type of burglary occurred near the Fulton/Fayette County line in the early morning hours Dec. 17. It was one in which the members of Fayette and Fulton’s many churches should pay close attention. Burglars left money behind in an organized theft that targeted the hard drives from the church computers.

Burglars apparently entered Christ Our Hope Lutheran Church through a window that had intentionally been unlocked, according to minister Jeff Halenza, likely sometime Sunday. A search of the church at Ga. Highway 314 and Ga. Highway 138 revealed an open window in the darkest exterior portion of the building, Halenza said.

Once inside the church and carrying crowbars and sledge hammers, burglars specifically targeted church offices and the computers in them. Office doors were knocked in and, in the case of one door that was especially difficult to enter, burglars used a sledge hammer to knock a hole in the sheetrock in order to get access to the door knob and open the door, Halenza said. He said phone lines were also cut, presumably to disable the alarm system.

Once inside the offices burglars stole only the hard drives from two computers and one monitor. The curious thing, Halenza said, was that they did not take the small amount of cash and the blank checks laying in plain view. Some file cabinets had been opened and some of the locked drawers had been broken open.

“It looked like they knew what they wanted,” the minister said. “They got it and they were gone.

Halenza said the church does not keep confidential personnel or critical contributor information on its computers and the church does not use direct deposit for personnel.

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