HAMPTON, Va. - Pastor Hallie Richardson Jr. was in the sanctuary bright and early for a funeral this morning. “Today we buried the oldest deacon of our church,” said Pastor Richardson.
The Little Zion Baptist Church is located right in the heart of Aberdeen off Queen Street.
“This is a historical church in historical Aberdeen Gardens,” said Richardson.
The church that he ministers at every Sunday was robbed early Tuesday morning. Members of the congregation noticed one of the side doors was pushed open.
“How could you do this? This is deplorable! To come in and do this to us when we try to help so many people. I’m just really angry,” said Pastor Richardson.
Hampton Police say a suspect broke into the church and stole two small safes. “Whoever took the safe, you have a surprise! You have a big surprise when you get them safes open,” said Pastor Richardson as he laughed.
He says he’s glad Sunday’s offering and tithes were deposited on Monday, so there was no cash in the safe. “They left the money bags, but they took our tithing envelopes, for what reason I don’t understand.”
But they did get into a lock box that had all the church's keys. They got away with one of the church's white vans.
“That van as used to pick up our members on Sunday morning. Transport our young people to events. It was part of our ministry,” Richardson adds.
After he finished looking at the damage inside the church is when he went outside to see if anything else was touched. That’s when he realized that some wires that connect the power were cut.
“We have no security right now. No telephone, no internet. They cut everything up,” he adds.
He says whoever did this knew to cut off the alarm before entering the church.
Choir practice and bible study are canceled till Richardson can make sure his church is safe again but he says the church doors won’t be locked for long, “cause we are going to have church Sunday morning!”
The church said Wednesday that the missing van was found in Yorktown. News 3 reached out to police to confirm whether or not it was found.
If you or anyone you know has any information that can help police find the white church van call 1–888-LOCK-U-UP,