Ransacker destroys Wichita church’s history, 1870 Bible

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Senior pastor Shane Creech at West Side Baptist Church doesn’t turn anyone away. 

The church hosts a weekly dinner for the homeless and plays host to a variety of clubs and activies including musical groups and Boy Scouts.

So when Creech got a call from the alarm company at 8:04 p.m. Tuesday, he didn’t think much of it.

“I knew the scouts were here and sometimes the kids get a little bit carried away and sometimes they set the alarm off so I just made the assumption and told them to cancel the call,” Creech said Wednesday.

Another call in to the chuch told Creech that it had been an unwanted guest. 

“Walking through the halls on the camera, they seemed to be just a normal person coming in, but they didn’t speak to anybody, they didn’t say anything to anybody or anything,” Creech said.

Surveillance cameras show a person walking around the church. Over the course of an hour, the person ransacked the church’s heritage room, ripped wires out of an old sound system in the sanctuary and littered church brochures throughout the building.

Some hymnals were ripped out of their binding. Photos and documents are torn into pieces and a Bible from 1870 was destroyed.

“I felt sick at first because that was the history of this church. and it’s gone, it’s just tore to pieces in there. It’s like a massive puzzle now to have to put together,” Creech said.

While the unwanted guest was not a first for West Side Baptist Church, Creech feels this attack is more personal.

“I’d like to just find out why they did it. Was it a random act? Were they upset about something?” Creech said.

Creech is exploring putting more locks on the interor doors of the church but has to be mindful of all the different groups that utilize the church’s space.

At Wednesday’s homeless dinner, Creech plans to show the photos of the ransacker to the guests in order to help identify them.

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