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Despite bus stolen and church burglarized in Bethune, ‘We forgive’

(Source: Pastor Scott Bernshausen)
(Source: Pastor Scott Bernshausen)
Updated: Jun. 27, 2019 at 6:50 PM EDT
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BETHUNE, S.C. (WIS) - The Bethune Police Department is investigating a burglary after a bus and several electronics were taken from a house of worship.

Police say it happened at Bethune Baptist Church on Blackmon Street.

The church was broken into Tuesday night, and police responded after they received a call Wednesday morning.

Investigators say they have a few leads but are still in need of the community's help to find out who is responsible for the damage.

Pastor Scott Bernshausen says he woke up Wednesday morning to a phone call that his church’s overhang had been destroyed.

“We called the police and once they responded we entered the church to find that the burglars had gone through pretty much every room of the church stealing any type of electronic equipment, tv, projectors, sound system equipment that they could get their hands on,” Bernshausen said.

The church has two busses, and are parked near an overhang on the side of the church.

Bernshausen says the keys to the bus was stolen and was then driven under the overhang.

The other bus was not stolen.

“They tried to go under the awning by the church and the bus is too tall so they did quite a bit of damage,” Bernshausen said.

On the side of the church, Bernshausen found a muddy footprint left on the door. He also found a shovel and utility tools that he thinks were used to break in the door.

Despite the damage the church faced, Pastor Bernshausen says he found a way to forgive.

“Yes, absolutely we forgive them. The Bible tells us that good can come from all things; so it’s our prayer, although we are hurt and are kind of mourning the situation, we do pray for the individuals who did this,” Bernshausen said. “It does hurt, there is a lot of loss and a lot of emotion, but we’re just thankful that nobody was harmed. We certainly can recover from this.”

Police say the top part of the church’s bus should have damage.

“This is kind of a target that hits hard to home,” Josh Ward, Chief of Police for Bethune Police Department said. “You don’t ever want to see a place of worship being taken advantage of. Especially when they do so much for the community.”

Police estimate the total cost of what was stolen to be approximately $38,000 dollars.

Ward says he has recently been contacted by some surrounding county agencies who've run into similar situations.

They are currently working to see if there is a connection to this specific incident.

“I would like to say thank you to Sheriff Lee Boan of the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office and his staff, especially his recent deputy J. Greenway for his assistance in the investigation of this incident,” Ward said.

Church services will remain as scheduled for Sunday.

Police say whoever is found responsible will be charged with burglary and theft of a motor vehicle.

If you have any information that can help investigators lead to an arrest, call 1-888-CRIME-SC (888-274-6372).

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