Church break-ins reported in several counties

Three church burglaries in Manitowoc County
Three church burglaries in Manitowoc County

FRANCIS CREEK - Manitowoc County is the latest county in our area to be hit with a series of church burglaries.

At St. Anne's Catholic Church in Francis Creek this weekend's service came with a surprise. Parishioners noticed that someone had broken in.

“Basically we don't know how many people did it, but they tried to get in the basement of the church,” said Rev. John Becker of St. Anne’s.

A window was broken, a screen was cut, and several items usually used to hold money were damaged.

“Why would someone want to come into a church to steal?” said Becker.

Members of different churches across the county and Northeast Wisconsin are asking the same thing.

“It looks like in each case the suspect was looking for money,” said Manitowoc County Sheriff Robert Herman.

In the past week, Manitowoc County has had three incidents.

In Sheboygan County, there have been four break-ins, which started late last year. Over the past month, Kewaunee County has had three break-ins and Brown County had one last week.

“A lot of times they happen on the borders of counties,” said Herman. “We have that happen with other types of burglaries too, where they're scattered into other counties.”

“This is a sacred place,” said Becker. “We would hope people would respect that, but obviously when you're looking for money, this could be a place that you could find it.”

At St. Anne's they didn't find much, if any at all. But other churches weren't as lucky, some having donation jars taken. It has St. Anne's being extra careful.

“Well we're just going to make sure we do not keep money here, period,” said Becker.

The Manitowoc County Sheriff's Department is offering a $500 reward through its Crime Stoppers Program.