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Break-in spree strikes churches south of Boston

A busted door in the Central Congregational Church in Middleboro, Mass., one of ten churches in the area hit by burglars in the past week. CBS Boston

(CBS) BOSTON - A string of church break-ins has pastors south of Boston on edge.

Ten churches have been hit in several towns over the past week, the thieves reportedly swiping collection boxes and taking from food pantries, but leaving more expensive audio/visual gear and  electronics untouched, CBS Boston reported.

The parishes are also worried about property damage because the perpetrators have pried open deadbolts and windows and cut through screens to gain entry.

The intruders have made a big mess, but apparently they departed several of the churches empty-handed.

Police suspect the intruders are seeking money for drugs, but the pastors seem ready to offer compassion for the thieves' broken lives.

"We hope that whoever it is finds help," said Reverend Bruce Smith.

Rev. Jason Genest said, "On Sunday morning we actually pray for the people that are responsible for a change of heart."

Churches in the southeastern Massachusetts communities of  Middleboro, Mansfield, East Bridgewater, Rockland, Plymouth and Marion have been hit.

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