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Sheriff’s Office learns of two more church robberies in end-of-year crime spree

The Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office learned Monday that the string of church robberies in the county at the end of 2017 included six churches, not four.

The latest robberies occurred at Laurel Hill Christian Church in Strasburg and St. John’s Church in Edinburg in December, according to Sheriff’s Office deputies.

In the case of Laurel Hill Christian Church, Maj. Scott Proctor said the thieves forced entry into the church and caused $300 worth of damage. Church treasurer Joy Williams said that the only thing stolen was a birthday bank, which asked churchgoers to donate pennies equal to their age.

Williams estimated the bank contained less than $20 when it was stolen.

St. John’s Church only reported a sweater and some cleaning supplies missing, said Lt. Ladon Ritenour. The church was unlocked, and did not suffer breaking and entering damages.

The four other recent church robberies occurred in Edinburg, Toms Brook and two in New Market. Proctor said all investigations remain active.

He did not rule out that the crimes are connected.

“We have no information, reported to us, that they’re connected, but, obviously, they occurred in the same time period,” Proctor said.

Proctor asked anyone who notices suspicious activity occurring near churches, night or day, to contact the Sheriff’s Office at  540-459-6100. If anybody notices an active crime, he added, they should not hesitate to call 911.

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