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Multiple thefts at church, gas station in Oroville

A church in Oroville is counting its blessings and trying not to let repeated thefts dampen its message of hope.

Posted: Mar 5, 2018 6:33 PM

A church in Oroville is counting its blessings and trying not to let repeated thefts dampen its message of hope.

Thefts in Oroville have become commonplace, and the Pursuit Christian Church has been broken into three times in the past couple of years.

It is a little off the beaten path and the pastor says it's likely that someone deliberately chose this place rather than it being random incidents.

“They came in they stole a sound board, musical equipment, cables, cords, they broke into our main office and stole checks,” said church Pastor Fred Wood.

He’s talking about the last time someone broke in last October and says they destroyed 6 doors trying to get in.

That was the second time, and that night alone cost the church about $17,000. The first time was the day before Easter in 2016, and he said it was almost impossible to recover from it.

They were still in the process of recovering from the last October break in when this most recent one happened on Wednesday, and now the church is trying to recover for the third time.

“I’ve lived in 3 different states in the last 10 years, and in 7 or 8 different communities in the Pacific Northwest, and this is the first place I have ever seen this problem.”

Luckily, this time they didn't break anything to get in; somebody removed a window and instead climbed in and stole an electric keyboard.

Overall, Wood says the 3 burglaries together have cost the church about $30,000, and that makes him angry.

“It's not because things are getting stolen, it's because the people, the body of this church, they work hard for their money and their finances; they work hard to be in relationships with each other,” he said.

He says despite these problems the church has been doing much better recently. The attendance has more than doubled from a couple of years ago and outreach is also up.

“Caring, giving, it's amazing. God is doing something amazing here and it's just great to be a part of it.”

Now he's working on getting a security system installed, but he says that will cost about $2,000.
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Keeping with the multiple thefts theme, the owner of A-1 Kwik Services gas station on Oro Dam Boulevard says twice in the last month people have taken advantage of the 5-finger-discount at his store.

The owner says in the beginning of February, a man walked in to the store room and took an entire case of Marlboro cigarettes, which he says costs about $2,500.

“Spend a lot of work, have to sell a lot of product to make that much money and it's very hard for us. We are struggling already, and we won't know when we are going to cover that much amount,” said gas station owner Ashok Vasudeva.

In the most recent theft, he said 3 teenagers walked in: one held the door open, one distracted the cashier, and the other took 2 full boxes of candy, which he says is about $60 worth.

He's reported the incident and Oroville police said they just don't have the resources to do anything about it right now.

We've reached out to the Oroville Police Department about this issue.

Lieutenant Chris Nicodemus says they are doing the best with what they have, but right now all of their resources are being used on homicides because, so far this year, they've already had 3.

“For an agency the size of ours, that's pretty high, and for having one detective that's a lot of work. But we're going to do what we can, and we do what we can with what we have,” said Nicodemus.

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