2007-11-16 / Front Page

Break-Ins Target Religious Institutions

By Miriam Rosenberg

Burglars have been targeting religious institutions in the Far Rockaway area, taking what they can carry and easily sell, such as computers and musical instruments, police say.

In August, a thief gained entry into the The Rockaway Revival Center through a side wall. In August, a thief gained entry into the The Rockaway Revival Center through a side wall. Within a three-month period, four houses of worship were hit for thousands of dollars worth of equipment, The Wave learned last week.

Police say that the churches and religious schools often make perfect targets for burglars.

"Storefront churches are easy to get into," a police source said. "The equipment [that they have stored inside] is expensive."

The burglaries, which started in early summer, show a pattern in which the thieves are targeting certain items.

Items reportedly stolen from the churches include two keyboards, a Fender guitar, microphones, amplifiers and a public address system.

Arecent burglary at a Far Rockaway Jewish yeshiva netted thousands of dollars in computer equipment.

"One amp is [worth] over $5,000 and an electric guitar is more than $700," said the source.

Authorities are hoping the public will help. Officials at the 101 Precinct in Far Rockaway are advising residents to be wary of anyone attempting to sell similar equipment. Anybody who is approached with the equipment is asked to call the 101 Precinct immediately at 718-868-3429.

Officers also urge those who run area churches to be more aware of their surroundings and to secure their locations from burglars.

The four churches that were reportedly hit by the burglars are located roughly within a one-mile radius of each other.

Eglise Baptiste D' Expression Francaise de Far Rockaway, located at 710 Beach 20 Street, was broken into on July 7 through a side window. On August 23, the Rockaway Revival Center, located at 15-26 Central Avenue (also the home of Miss D's Playground Daycare), was struck. In September, two churches, one at 12-93 Brunswick Avenue and the other at 10-40 Beach 19 Street (the Bethany Apostolic Church) became victims. In the last two break-ins, the thief gained entrance through the front door.

On November 7, burglars hit the Torah Academy for Girls (TAG), an Orthodox Jewish Yeshiva.

Reports say that a number of computers were taken from the preschool wing, located at 444 Beach 6 Street.

That burglary was confirmed by a school spokesperson, Dr. Shmuel Reishbaum.

Local business and property owners can get a free security survey of their establishments by calling the 101 Precinct's community policing or community affairs units.

Detectives from the 101 Precinct Squad are investigating all of the burglaries. Sources say they expect those who committed the church and yeshiva burglaries to continue with that pattern, until they are caught.

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