Burglars hit San Jose church; equipment stolen from Boy Scouts

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Burglars have broken into Almaden Hills United Methodist Church two times over the past six months, stealing thousands of dollars' worth of goods belonging to a local Boy Scout troop that stores its trailer there.

"They came over the rafters... they had a bolt cutter in order to get the garage door open and the lock off the trailer hitch, and they took the trailer," said Scoutmaster Richard Blume of Boy Scouts Troop 262.

The trailer, which was taken sometime Sunday into Monday, was filled with more than $12,000 worth of camping equipment. Everything from multiple tents to cooking supplies were all taken in a matter of minutes.

"It could be that the people who stole it, and the people that ended up with the trailer, were not the same folks," said Blume.

Police found the trailer Thursday at a homeless encampment close to the Guadalupe River.

However, whoever stole it, had to have had the means to haul it away from the church.

"These people stole this stuff to sell... that's all. They weren't looking to help each other out, they were helping themselves by stealing stuff to sell," said Bill Messerly, the church's facilities supervisor.

The church and the troop were last targeted in March.

"The first time that we got broken into, the troop really came together and we collected bottles and cans that we turned into the recycle center, and that was a way we raised money," said Idean Azari, a former troop member who attained the rank of Eagle Scout.

The church is working on upgrading its security, but is asking anyone with information to help. Police say the case remains under investigation.

"We're a small church. I really want people to stop breaking in here. I want people to stand up and say this is enough," said Rev. Mariellen Yoshino, who leads the congregation.

If you'd like to help, the church is accepting donations on its website on behalf of the troop. The Boy Scouts will also be selling popcorn on Saturday at the Safeway at Cherry and Almaden Expressway in San Jose to raise money for new equipment for future camping trips.
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