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More info released on church break-ins

December 16, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Break-ins at three churches that were discovered Friday morning might be related, police said.

At about 9 a.m., West Virginia State Police responded to Martinsburg Church of Christ at 9512 Tuscarora Pike to investigate the theft of stereo equipment and Christmas presents, police said.

At about 11:30 a.m., state police responded to a break-in at Tuscarora Presbyterian Church at 8854 Tuscarora Pike.

Nothing was reported missing from the Presbyterian church, but police said it was apparent that someone kicked in a side door and attempted to open a safe in the basement.

The Christmas presents and equipment taken from the Church of Christ by someone who entered through a rear kitchen window are worth about $2,500, State Police Sgt. T.C. Kearns said in a news release.

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Kearns said the break-ins at the Tuscarora Pike houses of worship about 1 1/2 miles apart from each other happened between 8 p.m. Thursday and 8:45 a.m. Friday.

"Trooper Gillmore located shoe prints within both churches indicating both ... were broken into by the same perpetrator," Kearns said.

The Martinsburg Police Department announced Friday that officers responded to investigate the theft of audio equipment from Church of the Bible Covenant at 706 Sheridan Ave. The church was damaged in the incident, police said.

Kearns said Monday afternoon that similar equipment was stolen and the type of entry was similar to the Tuscarora Pike break-ins.

Kearns said Sunday the church break-ins might have been related to a residential burglary along Arden Nollville Road that police investigated at about 4 a.m. Friday.

The victims told police they awoke to discover a man dressed in black clothing standing at the foot of their bed, and that he fled with their wallet and purse.

Anyone with information about the break-in at Church of Bible Covenant may call city police at 304-264-2100 or Berkeley County Crime Solvers at 304-267-4999.

Anyone with information about the Tuscarora Pike and Arden Nollville Road crimes may contact the Martinsburg detachment of the West Virginia State Police at 304-267-0001.

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