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Public safety shaken by trio of church break-ins in New World Island, NL

RCMP logo. FILE/THE SOUTHERN GAZETTE - The Chronicle Herald

Community residents are taking extra precautions to safeguard their possessions after a trio of Salvation Army churches across New World Island were robbed in February.

“More people are keeping their doors locked than ever before,” said Comfort Cove-Newstead Mayor Peter Watkins. “They’re locking up everything now.”

According to police, thieves hit the church in Birchy Bay first between Feb. 10 and Feb. 17. A pair of guitars and a laptop were taken in the incident.

A couple of days later in Comfort Cove-Newstead, the church was entered and a safe was taken.

The third robbery took place in Bayview sometime between Feb. 24-25. Again, a safe containing an undisclosed amount of cash was stolen.

“Really, I was surprised to see (the church broken into),” said Watkins. “They must’ve thought there was something there.”

When word of the break-ins reached the provincial office of The Salvation Army in St. John’s, Major Rene Loveless was taken aback.

“We were very concerned and deeply disappointed,” he said. “When thefts like this happen ... it negatively affects the work being done.”

Loveless indicated some of the money taken in the thefts was destined for one of the church’s food banks.

“It is troubling,” said Loveless. “If people are needing help from us, they don’t have to break down our doors to find it.”

Police say investigations into all three church break and enters are ongoing.

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