Person of interest sought in connection with church theft

SAN DIEGO - The pastor of a local church contacted 10News on Wednesday after surveillance cameras captured a man trespassing and then breaking into a room where it is believed he stole nearly $1,000 worth of sound equipment.

San Diego police are only calling the man a person of interest because the cameras did not actually capture him stealing anything.

The surveillance footage was captured just after 9 p.m. Tuesday. That is when a man sneaked in behind a cleaning crew at Christ United Methodist Ministry Center, located at 33rd and Meade streets in Normal Heights.

Cameras captured the man casing the place for a while and then breaking into a locked closet, where it is believed he stole two large speakers worth about $400 each. The speakers are used for Pastor Connie Cervantes' Sunday church services.

"Yeah, and they were good. We just got them not too long ago," said Cervantes, the pastor of New Jerusalem Church.

Print outs of the "person of interest" are now posted throughout the building, and although he is never actually seen leaving with the speakers he is suspected of stealing, Cervantes says there is no other way they could have disappeared.

"I gasped thinking, 'How could they?'" said Cervantes.

On Wednesday, San Diego police officers spoke with Cervantes. The New Jerusalem Church is one of 12 churches that rent space for worship. Twelve nonprofits also rent space in the 25,000-square-foot building that once was Christ United Methodist Church.

Bill Jenkins was pastor for 13 years. He now oversees the property that ministers to more than a 1,000 people a week.

"This man ... I'd just like to sit down and talk with him and say 'what's going on,' you know, 'where are you, can we help you?'" said Jenkins, the executive director and pastor emeritus of Christ United Methodist Ministry Center.

10News asked and no one who works there recognized the man caught on surveillance camera.

If you have seen him or know who he is, you are urged to call police.

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