Investigators say the thief entered the Holy Temple Church of God in Christ last week using a key, The (Springfield) Republican reported. Police Sgt. John Delaney said the theft occurred sometime between Tuesday and Thursday last week.
Bernadine Smith, a member of the church for many years, estimated the value of the stolen items at about $150,000.
"The church was totally stripped, everything but the pews and a couple chairs out of the pulpit," she said.
The church was founded 80 years ago in Springfield and has been in its current building since 1965. While it once had about 300 members, Smith said that the congregation, like many inner city churches, has become smaller.
Because the thief took the furniture from the office, the church lost its documents as well, Smith said. She said that will complicate filing an insurance claim.
"We are going to bring it back," Smith said. "We are not going to let our church die."
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