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Fighting Back: Thieves Target Austin Churches
Fighting back against people accused of stealing from churches. Police told KEYE TV thieves hit a Catholic church in North Austin and stole its only food trailer used to serve more than 1,000 families every week.
Church leaders believe faith based organizations are being targeted.
"That had to be done with a bow cutter," said James Rendon, as he showed us a broken chain on the ground. "They were moving fast."
Rendon is the food pantry director at St. Louis Catholic Church. He said thieves recently busted two locks to steal the churches only trailer.
"They had to really go out of their way,” he said. “It was a shock to me and we were like what are we going to do on Tuesday? We have to pick up our food!"
Rendon told us lines of hungry families wrap around the St. Louis Catholic Church every week.
"We were left to fend for ourselves," he said.
So were three more churches. Rendon told us they had their trailers stolen the same weekend.
"We're being targeted," he continued. "Most churches and faith based organizations don't have cameras and security systems out there. They know it's an easy hit."
"It's an opportunistic crime," said Austin Senior Police Officer Jermaine Kilgore. "It doesn't take much time at all."
APD told us 25 trailers have been stolen in the last three months. Sr. Officer Kilgore said they are tough to track.
"Thieves have been known to take off license plates," he explained. "Try to put it in a storage facility. That's going to be more secure that leaving it on the property or the street."
Rendon said the church uses its own vans and borrows parishioner's trucks to transport food now. They haven't had to turn anyone away. The church hopes to have a new trailer, thanks to donations, within a month.
"We pray for them, because that's what we do," Rendon said about the suspects.