WILKINSBURG (KDKA) — A Wilkinsburg church has received an overwhelming response from the community after a burglar stole thousands of dollars’ worth of electronics last week.
Police say a man climbed through a window of the Bible Chapel Church last Saturday and stole audio and sound equipment, including the church soundboard and an expensive camera and microphones.
“We are still figuring [the cost] out,” Pastor Dave DiDonato said. “Between ten, up to fifteen thousand dollars’ worth of our equipment.”
When the burglary first happened, the pastor admits he felt a sense of violation because someone broke into his church home, but that disappointment was soon replaced by a sense of joy because of the response from the community.
Hours after the story was featured on KDKA’s newscast Friday, DiDonato says calls poured into the church.
“We’ve heard from a couple of audio and video companies who want to help and support us,” he said. “Our South Hills campus has supported us with a soundboard we can use. We’ve even had local churches in Wilkinsburg, local pastors saying, ‘How can we come alongside you and help?'”
The pastor believes one of the reasons why the response was so great was that people appreciated his instant willingness to forgive the burglar.
“I got messages from people who I’ve never met — other pastors, even just other people saying, ‘Your message of forgiveness struck a chord with me that, as a church, you responded that way,'” DiDonato said.
He says he wants to meet the burglar and hopes he will change his life one day. In the meantime, he plans to do whatever is necessary to make the church more secure.
Wilkinsburg Police say if you recognize the guy in the video, give them a call at 412-244-2919 (x121) to give an anonymous tip, or call the Wilkinsburg Police desk at 412-244-2913.