Burglars target safes at churches, businesses in Orange County


Administrators of the Mormon Church in Anaheim discovered Sunday morning that the offices had been broken, and computers and electronics were missing.

"The reaction we had was, did we really lock up the building? Was everything protected? And when we found out that it was and everything was broken into, it felt like someone had violated us," said Bill Davis.

They weren't the only ones. At least five other churches in Anaheim and the Islamic Center in Irvine suffered the same fate.

"I don't know what they are thinking when people come and do things like that over here when we use it as a place of worship," said Dean Niutupuivaha.

Police say the same burglars also broke into five businesses in Santa Ana with the same M.O., going straight for the safes. On May 1, three men were caught on surveillance camera forcing their way into the Forty Martyrs Armenian Church, located at 5315 West McFadden Avenue, by prying open a side door. The suspects stole a safe containing approximately $15,000.

The suspects then fled westbound on West McFadden in a newer-model gray sedan, according to police.

Investigators are hoping someone will recognize the suspects in the surveillance video. One of the suspects even gave the camera a close-up as he tried to break it.

The first suspect is described as a white male about 30-35 years old, with short brown hair, clean-shaven and a thin build, wearing a black baseball cap with a Chicago White Sox logo, a black jacket with orange liner, and a white/black striped polo shirt, blue shorts and white/black tennis shoes.

The second suspect is described as a white male about 40-45 years old, with a bald head, a mustache, medium build, wearing an olive green and white hooded jacket, blue jeans and black-over-white tennis shoes.

The third suspect is described as a possibly Hispanic man about 35-40 years old, with a goatee, thin build, wearing a light-colored hooded jacket, blue jeans and black tennis shoes.

Anyone with information is urged to call Orange County Crime Stoppers at (855) TIP-OCCS, or texting TIP "OCCS" plus your tip to 274637 (CRIMES).

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