DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - It was to be a very special Sunday service this weekend at Calvary Philadelphia Missionary Baptist Church in Dallas. But the action of one man has left parts of the church in shambles and hundreds of school children without some necessities as they return to classes.
For a lot of young people in the community surrounding Calvary Philadelphia Missionary the start of school didn't necessarily mean they were ready for class. But each year the church and the community rallied together to help.
Now church leaders say a thief not only broke into and vandalized the church but also took off with school supplies donated for kids in the community who often have a hard time affording them.
But the whole time the criminal was walking through church hallways, he was being watched – not by a member of the congregation but by rolling video cameras.
Video shows the man laying his hand on the wall and driving his foot through the door. The thief then kicked his way into one office after another.
Pastor Joe Moore showed a CBS 11 News crew how the thief came into the building. He pointed to an air vent believed to be the point of entry.
Pastor Moor said the man dropped through the ceiling and started ransacking offices. "I just couldn't believe someone would break into the Lord's house," he said.
A camera captured a glimpse of the intruder's face, partially hidden under a baseball cap.
Members of the church and community had gathered more than 100 backpacks and filled them with school supplies. Friday evening Pastor Moore said, "This is what's left," picking up one of a dozen or so damaged bags remaining.
The church was planning to hand the backpacks out this weekend, to students starting school on Monday.
The thief left little behind for kids like Justin Bradley. "That's wrong," the 8-year-old said. Justin's grandmother agreed saying, "As a grandparent on a fixed income, it's really a big help to receive the supplies."
As the church tries to help the young people recover, their attention is also on older members of the congregation. You see, the thief also rifled through the church's pantry, where it keeps food to serve hot meals once a week to people in need.
"These shelves were full," Pastor Moore said frustrated.
By Friday evening church employees had cleaned up most of the mess left behind. Now members are just left wondering who would do such a thing. "I think it's terrible that someone would break into the church. Period."
Leaders at Calvary Philadelphia Missionary said they had received a few calls from people interested in donating school supplies, so they expect to have some supplies to hand out this weekend. The big question is, will there be enough for every child?
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