CRIME TRACKER: Thieves break into West Yakima churches

WEST YAKIMA, Wash. --The KIMA Crime Tracker learned thieves have set their sights on sacred land, targeting some of Yakima's churches. Three spots in West Valley have been hit so far, Action News spoke with one pastor who realized they're a target like anyone else.

Stealing from a church seems unthinkable.

"It's something that just happens and we're not exempt from that," said Westminster Presbyterian Church Pastor Duncan MacLoud.

But it's more common than you'd think.

"It is particularly sort of sad around the holiday season to be thinking about that," said Pastor MacLoud.

Three churches have fallen victim to burglars in recent months. Including Yakima Bible Baptist on Tieton, St. Timothy's Episcopal on Richey and most recently, Pastor MacLoud's congregation at Westminster Presbyterian on Summitview. Churches may be an easy target because of their visibility.

"Probably a thousand people a week pass through the building around the campus."

The Pastor believes the burglary was planned. He says there was a system for removing the property without anyone noticing. Burglars broke into an outdoor shed and stole a snow blower and gas can from Westminster. Pastor MacLoud said the damage caused by the break-in will cost more than replacing the equipment.

Action News asked people around town how they felt about thieves stealing from churches and while the majority says it's downright pathetic. They say that it also makes them feel like there is no place considered safe."

"It just seems like we're losing so much of our security anymore makes you feel insecure and violated even though it happens to someone else," said local Jo Resendez.

But the church says each incident is a lesson learned. They have an alarm system, but won't let thieves deter their mission.

"We love having the community here and a part of what we're doing," said Pastor MacLoud.

YPD tells Action News that while property was taken from Westminster Presbyterian, the thieves who broke into the other two churches were looking for cash.