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Anchorage church robbed of Easter offerings

Tegan Hanlon

Anchorage police are searching for answers after a local pastor entered his church Monday morning to find a broken screwdriver lying aside an emptied safe. All the Easter Sunday offerings were gone.

The safe at First United Methodist Church had once held thousands of dollars, said Jennifer Miller, the church's administrative assistant. She said the locked metal safe sits tucked under her desk, out of sight.

Rev. Ronald Myers was the first to discover it Monday morning, she said. The safe was covered with little dents. Sections of the outer part of the metal door had been pried off. The keypad was damaged. He dialed 911 shortly after 8:50 a.m.

When police responded to the church, they did not find any signs of forced entry. There were no broken windows or doors, said Jennifer Castro, police spokeswoman.

In a statement Tuesday, Castro said police did not have any suspect information.

"We're working from ground zero," she said.

Miller said the church's alarm system wasn't set Sunday night. Easter Sunday was busy, she said. The last service ended at 5:30 p.m. "People were in and out all day," Miller said.

The church usually uses the offerings for daily operating expenses and service activities like food preparation for the Brother Francis Shelter.

Police are asking anyone with information to call Anchorage Crime Stoppers at 786-8900.

Reach Tegan Hanlon at thanlon@adn.com or 257-4589.


By TEGAN HANLON
thanlon@adn.com