CLARK COUNTY, Ind. — Two men are facing charges in Clark County after police said they stole from two different churches.
Officers were called to Henryville Community Church on July 10 for reports of a burglary where they found Kristopher Lucas and Jonathan Lamaster.
Police said the pair had gone through several rooms in the church stealing items including an electric meter.
They also found a van belonging to Austin Christian Church that had been recently stolen.
The leaders of both churches have now joined together to pray for the two men.
Pastor Denny Dillman, with Henryville Community Church, said both churches are rooted in communities which face similar struggles.
"I'm going to guess that at the base of this there are issues with addiction," Dillman said. "The truth is most families in our cities out here in our rural communities, everywhere, are affected by drug addiction and alcohol addiction."
Dillman said he received a call around 12:45 a.m. that the church had been broken into. He said he found out later, it was thanks to a neighbor that police were called in the first place.
"A neighbor who has been suffering with cancer was not feeling good that night and was sitting out on her porch and she noticed activity at the church that should not have been happening, she was compelled to pick up the phone and call police," he said. "If that didn't happen, then we likely could've lost a lot."
Dillman said in addition to the electric meter, the man reportedly broke into an office, and also gathered a bag of food.
"The evidence is clear they would've taken more if they had been given the opportunity. That opportunity dried up very quickly because of a good neighbor," Dillman said.
Dillman said he later noticed a church van in a nearby parking lot that seemed out of place. It was revealed to belong to Austin Christian Church and found inside was the electric meter. Allegedly, the men previously had stolen the church van.
Still, Dillman said if the men showed up at their door they would be welcomed into the service.
"Whatever it is that has led them to this place, we're willing to put it on the line to help them engage and to help them, whatever it takes," Dillman said. "We don't hold any anger or malice toward them. we love them as people who struggle the same as we struggle."
Dillman said the two mens' names have been added to the prayer board inside the church to "lift them up and lift their families up."
"I would challenge us all to go and look in the mirror and recognize, and we know this from scripture, Jesus said, who ever is without sin cast the first stone. So I am deeply burdened and grieved for these young men," Dillman said. "My desire as a pastor and desire as a human being is to connect with them and help them in any way we can."
Both men were charged with a felony burglary charge, a felony theft charge and one misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief.