MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The administrator of a well-known church in the Haitian community in Miami is asking for the public’s help after his house of worship has been burglarized twice in the past week by the same person.
Administrator Wilfrid Pierre of the Haitian Emmanuel Baptist Church at 7321 N.E. 2nd Ave. says surveillance tape captures the same suspect inside the church.
In the latest incident that happened overnight Monday, the suspect is caught on camera spending some 20 minutes on the church loading dock before pulling out some sort of object and smashing the vending machine three times, leaving broken glass on the floor.
Then he is seen methodically taking every item out of that machine and loading them in to a bag before leaving. He is also seen eating snacks from the machine on three occasions.
Pierre told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that surveillance tape from overnight on September 16th shows the same suspect pacing around inside the church before he stole a large TV.
“I feel frustrated,” said Pierre. “This is the second time that we were burglarized. They took televisions and musical equipment and computers. I would say this man is about 6 feet tall and he is a black man. I have no idea who would have broken into a house of worship. We’ve been in this community for 47 years and we have been feeding a lot of people through different programs. We do understand that humans will be human but we would like to see this person caught before he strikes someone else in the community. If anybody knows anything they should call law enforcement.”
Miami Police are actively investigating this case. A detective was on the scene on Monday afternoon.
Church pastors and parishioners are upset.
Associate Pastor Jacques Joseph said, “This has shaken me up a whole lot because I thought we did everything to protect the church. I don’t know how he got in here.”
“I feel so bad,” said parishioner Emmanuel Maura’s. “This is my church. I have been coming here for 45 years.”
Parishioner Glorieuese Pierre said, “I feel so bad. This is my church.”
Another parishioner Emmanuel Marcellus said, “This is very bad for me. This is very bad for me. I am very upset.”
Pierre says fortunately the church is insured.
Anyone with information that can help Miami Police should call detectives at (305) 603-6030 or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477) if they wish to remain anonymous.