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Thieves targeting Paintsville church

Paintsville, Ky. (WYMT) - We have brought you stories about struggling food banks across the region and while most of those are dealing with a lack of donations, one in Johnson County is dealing with much more. As a string of thefts could be taking food off the tables of needy families.

Dan Heaberlin, pastor at First Church of God, says it has become a common occurrence, "In the last two years we have been broken into six times."

Heaberlin says the most recent theft happened just last week, "They tried to get in the kitchen window and then realized he couldn't get in that way so he went over to the other window and it was locked so they busted it in unlocked the window and pulled the window out."

Paintsville Police Chief Steven Sluss says, "They made entry into the office and went through desk drawers and located a key and unlocked the desk drawer."

Officials say the thief got away with about 70 dollars in cash, leaving some aggravated as Heaberlin says, "Why would somebody break into a church that does so much for the community. We gave out last year over 500,000 pounds of food and that is a lot of food."

Church officials say the money that is being stolen plays an important role in their food bank ministry as it is used to operate the trucks that pick up supplies three times a week.

Heaberlin says that seventy dollars would have provided fuel for at least one month and explains, "Five dollars makes a difference to us, because we can feed a family of three for about 15 dollars a week."

Folks at Tuesday's food pantry giveaway were also upset by the crime. Randall Selvage goes to the food pantry and says, "Out of the kindness of their heart, to give the food away, and people are breaking in and stealing. I mean they are willing to give you the stuff to help you out."

Church officials say they will be upgrading security to try and put an end to these break-ins. Anyone with information about the break-ins is asked to call the Paintsville Police Department.

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