MELBOURNE, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - The pastor of Soul's Harbor Community Church in Melbourne is heartbroken. It was Sunday morning, just before church, when Pastor Dale Rhodes found a hole which burglars had smashed into the wall.
Stolen from the church were thousands of dollars of musical instruments and audio equipment. Police were called and recovered some of it from behind the church.
"We were really happy about that," the pastor said.
Police say the thieves broke in again on two different occasions -- the second time, using keys they apparently stole from the first break-in.
"I was a little bit angry about it at that point," said Rhodes. "Unfortunately, the third time they literally ripped the plywood back off the wall ... then they made the hole bigger and crawled back through."
At that point, they didn't take anything else, but instead, they just started breaking things. All told, the church is out $10,000, and it's not insured. The worst part for Pastor Rhodes: a half-dozen of the church's bibles were tossed into a bonfire behind the church.
"They came back here and just started burning the bibles," Rhodes explained. "This is just vandalism. It's just, we don't care. And you are destroying one of the most powerful things in my life."
Police say they have filed charges against three teenagers in the case, but no arrests have yet been made. Pastor Rhodes has offered forgiveness for those responsible.