Church hit by spate of break-ins

2014-07-24 00:00

A CHURCH in Umbilo is being picked apart piece by piece.

Thieves have hit the Umbilo Methodist Church five times in four weeks.

One congregant of the 20-year-old church on Bartle Road said as a result of the theft, the church had been turned into a “prison”.

There was even a Facebook plea from Angelique Hyder Baxter for people to help with security upgrades. “They cannot catch them, they have put lighting, extra sensors and done everything in their power to avoid break-ins,” the post read.

The church secretary, Caitlin Dalgleish, said that break-ins had not been an uncommon phenomenon. “The only difference this time was that this happened within the space of a month,” she said.

“We lost around R30 000 worth of our equipment from the first break-in where they took computers, laptops, projectors and microphones.”

Church treasurer Lisa Zammit said anything that had not been bolted down at the church had been locked away. “They just smashed the cupboard we locked all our stuff away in.”

The church runs a soup kitchen that feeds more than 50 people from Monday to Friday. Zammit said the kitchen has been running for years. “It would be a shame if we had to stop the soup kitchen.”

She said they could not continue to run the kitchen and replace stolen equipment.

The church would need major security upgrades, she said. “We don’t want the church to look like a prison with barbed wire because it is a place of refuge but we have no other alternative.”

Zammit also said the increase in crime could be related to the central Durban clean-up. “Ever since people in town have been removed they have been moving up and sleeping in the parks here,” she said.

In a related incident, a woman who had been beaten up, allegedly by residents of the Dalton Hostel, a few weeks ago, died this week.

Heather Rorick from the Bulwer Community Safety Forum said the woman had allegedly refused medical treatment.

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