Thieves ransack Eastpointe church to take $80 and a TV

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Pastor Albert Rush says evil struck the Immanuel United Methodist Church in Eastpointe. He arrived Memorial Day morning to find thieves had broken in through the side window of the 160-year-old church.

"We must be something really right if the devil is trying to stop the work we're trying to do in Detroit and beyond," he says.

They got away with 80 dollars and a TV -- but left a path of destruction behind.

"It is very devastating to our congregation, especially to feel like somebody is breaking into your home," Pastor Rush says.

"Really, there wasn't much loss; more damage than loss," says church secretary Vicki Rayboud. "I think they got angry because they couldn't get things and because of that they decided to dump things."

She showed FOX 2 how the thieves apparently tried to use a bat, sabre saw and frying pan to crack open this safe, which only had historical documents inside. But when they failed, they apparently got frustrated and ransacked several rooms, including the pastor's office.

Ironically, the pastor says if the desperate individuals were in that much need all they had to do is ask.

"Unfortunately, we try to do a lot of ministry in this community and the sad part about it, they got about 80 dollars, but if someone would have just called the church and asked for it, most likely we would have been able to have a Samaritan rainy day fund for people in need," Pastor Rush says.

The church will soon be installing a new security system. As Pastor Rush assessed the damage, which he believes is likely a few thousand dollars, he can't help but wonder why the vandals didn't try to take more. Perhaps, he says, it was divine intervention.

"My belief is that, I guess, when they saw Jesus they felt they maybe shouldn't really take from here," he says. 

Rayboud says they usually don't keep money at the church, but they had a recent sale and she didn't have time to deposit the money yet before the holiday. The money that was stolen was for community outreach.