Detroit church plagued by break-ins with nearby abandoned home

Boarded up after another break-in, the alarm went off at Whitlock Memorial Church of God in Christ at 3:30 Tuesday morning. Someone had thrown a piece of concrete through the door and a brick through the snack counter.

"That's kind of distressing to me because I know it's not just this house of worship; this is happening all over the city in other houses of worship," says Norine Crumpe. "As a matter of fact, some of my coworkers, it's happened at their church. And I've thought, why would you? There's no money on the premises; we don't keep any money here. Period."

"We're just struggling to keep it nice, to keep the building nice, but it's hard when there's always a setback," says Pastor Keith Crumpe.

It's not the first time this house of worship has been victimized. They had incidents twice late last year, and now, once again. They think the abandoned homes here on Epworth surrounding the church are partially to blame.

"I'm told there's drug activity that goes on in that house sometimes, so that's not good either. Not good for the neighborhood; not good because children live in this area," Norine says. "It needs to come down."

They're not absolutely certain the abandoned house next door has something to do with the break ins but you don't have to go far to find chunks of concrete and bricks.

The pastors and the parishioners say they've called the city repeatedly trying to get the eyesore next door torn down. FOX 2 called as well, and found out it's not currently on the demolition list. We're told this area was not yet eligible for the federal demolition funds.

But, the city did send out a crew from the board up brigade instead. They worked quickly Tuesday to board up the home and others close to the church.

"It's bad out here when you have homes that are open. You have people that want to do criminal activity going into the homes, you know, right next to a place of worship, or children playing, or elderly people living. They just want to live in a safe environment, so our job is to try to tackle the houses that are not in the demolition pipeline," says Crystal Perkins, a project manager with the City of Detroit. 

Meanwhile, the congregation at Whitlock Memorial is hoping this helps.