Thieves made off with valuable church documents after breaking into the Family Life Centre in George Town.
The criminals stole a safe that contained the original land registry documents of the Church of God on Walkers Road, as well as cash and a number of stamps and seals issued by the church, including the pastor’s seal.
“This is very distressing for the church. These documents and seals are of immense significance to the church and its community,” said Marjorie Ebanks, the church’s volunteer administrator. “The church exists for the people, we help and reach out to people – if they are hungry, they can come and get a bag of food, so it is very distressing to think [thieves] would break into the church on a Sunday evening and take away precious things from us.”
The church’s building has a security system in place, but the Family Life Centre does not, Ms. Ebanks said. She added that the church would now look to getting a security system in the office building as well.
The safe’s dimensions are approximately 24 x 15 x 12 inches.
Patricia Downey, the church’s finance assistant, said she wished forgiveness on the thieves and encouraged them to think about their actions.
“It would be even better if they came to the church and found God instead of being brought to justice,” she said. “That would give the opportunity to invoke change in them as a person instead of just a temporary solution of punishment.”
Officers from the Royal Cayman Islands Police said the break-in occurred sometime between Sunday evening and Monday morning. The burglars gained access to the Family Life Centre by prying open a window at the front of the building.
Ms. Ebanks said that on Monday morning when the church’s custodian arrived at 6 a.m., she discovered the safe was gone. A front panel of a drawer in Ms. Ebanks’ office which had been locked was also ripped off. “The drawer only contained odds and ends, and nothing was taken from it,” she said.
A key box located near the safe that contained keys for the church and the Family Life Centre was also smashed and the keys stolen. Ms. Ebanks said that all locks were changed following the incident.
The safe’s dial was smashed and left at the scene, suggesting that the thieves could not open it, and instead pried the safe off the wall and took it with them, she said.
Ms. Ebanks said she never imagined that theft would be an issue at the church.
“The safe was more for protection from fire than from theft – we never thought anyone would steal those things,” she said. “I don’t think they had interest in the documents, but they took the safe thinking there was money in it. It contained a little over a thousand dollars – thankfully not from the offering – as well as some computer backup drives, documents and keys.
“We are not as concerned about the money as we are with the documents and urge the culprits to return the files to the church.”
Church leaders are appealing for anyone who has any information on the robbery to contact the George Town Police Station on 949-4222 or Detective Anthony Daniels on 926-5505.