Church members offer forgiveness to man who broke in, stole from them several times

SAPD seeks suspect in burglaries

By Japhanie Gray - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - A San Antonio church is offering forgiveness to the person responsible for stealing their production equipment.

The person who police have identified as a suspect shown on surveillance video made several appearances at the Light of the World Church. 

“He basically came in and took a speaker and a tripod,” said Armando Leon, a church member. “We noticed the door was open, and, of course, we got footage of it all happening.”

The first theft was recorded July 17. The second time he showed up was July 24.

“After the first time, we made sure the church was secured and told everyone that we had been broken into,” said Rey Villarreal, a deacon minister of the church. “The second time he showed up, it was early in the morning, so all he got to was food in the kitchen before he left again.”

 

The third time the man showed up to the church, which was Sept. 8, church members recognized him.

“It was around 10:30 at night when everyone was wrapping up preparations for that Sunday service,” Leon said. “Another church member and I were actually there when he walked up, and he was asking about information dealing with the church, like what time services started. He said he wanted to bring his grandmother to the church the next day.”

Leon said that's when his friend began to question the man.

“My friend told him he looked familiar and started playing the surveillance video of him, but he told him that that was his twin brother in the video,” Leon said. “So I started calling the cops and he started to walk off.”

Leon said his friend chased after the man, and after a little scuffle, the man eventually got away.

“We are taught not to use violence whatsoever when speaking with someone unless we are forced to,” Leon said. “We had to in that moment, to protect not only the people here but possibly anyone he may have encountered.”

Villarreal said members of the congregation are not mad and do not expect to have the equipment returned. He said they just want to offer their forgiveness.

“We must have mercy and compassion for those who may do something against us,” Villarreal said. ”For us, we just invite him to come to church and come to know the word, and you will see that God is prosperous in many ways.”

San Antonio police are still searching for the man. Anyone with information is asked to call the Crimes Unit at 210-207-7631.

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