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'We're not going to go anywhere': South Side pastor reflects on recent break-ins, leaving the church without a snow blower

'We're going to continue to serve this community' 02:31

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The sights and sounds of someone breaking into a Chicago church.

It's just one of a series of similar crimes. CBS 2's Steven Graves reports from West Pullman, where several pastors are on alert.

Sunday night's burglary was just one instance of what's causing frustration. The side effect is that some churches that provide services for the community are leaving. While others see the crime as a reason to stay.

A burglar gets into New Vision of Faith Ministries in seconds. A video clip is the only evidence Pastor Kevin Dean has for Chicago police.

"When I was younger, I could not conceive breaking into God's house," Dean said.

But the burglar did it around 9:15 last Sunday night at 120th and Normal. He found no tithes and offering.

"We don't keep money in the church," Dean said.

But what he ultimately got away with blows Pastor Dean's mind.

"He took our snowblower," Dean said.

Odd, but it all sounds too familiar to Reverend George Shaw.

"Sanitizing machines. And there's another machine that you actually clean the seats," Shaw said.

Thieves took those from his church, breaking in three weeks ago. Apostolic Church of God is only two blocks down from Pastor Dean.

"This is not the first time," Dean said.

The anything but holy habit dates back almost exactly a year ago for places of worship in the West Pullman neighborhood.

Back then, in late February, early March, Chicago Police sent out a community alert. Four churches were hit around 119th street in the early morning hours. Thieves getting their hands on just about anything.

"They took toilet paper and paper goods," Dean said. "There is forgiveness, but sin has consequences."

The constant damage is now putting churches back, paying hundreds of dollars out of pocket.

"One of the pastors that was initially here, he got frustrated and left. But we're not going to go anywhere. We're going to continue to serve this community," Dean said.

Two months ago, a thief broke into three churches in Belmont Cragin, also taking a snowblower. There's no indication those incidents are connected, nor have there been any arrests. Pastors in West Pullman now forced to upgrade security.  

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