Valuables were taken from three more local churches in recent days as a rash of unsolved church burglaries in Greater Hartford swelled to double-digits, police said Monday.
St. James Episcopal Church at 1018 Farmington Ave. was struck by a thief or thieves overnight Thursday, West Hartford police Chief Tracey Gove said. The Universalist Church at 433 Fern St. and Angels on Assignment Christian Church at 1061 Boulevard were hit over the weekend.
At least 10 Hartford-area churches have been victimized since Jan. 17, police said.
“We do have some physical evidence and we have some leads we’re working on,” Gove said. “We’re working with Berlin and Wethersfield [police] and I’m hoping to have [an arrest] sooner rather than later.”
At least seven West Hartford churches have sustained damages and lost cash and valuables since Jan. 17, police said. Churches in Wethersfield, Berlin, and Rocky Hill also reported burglaries in recent weeks.
“They seem to be connected. We have physical evidence that seems to link them all together,” Gove said.
In West Hartford, four churches reported earlier burglaries, including three in a 24-hour period around Jan. 16-17, police said.
Those burglaries were at First Church of Christ Congregational at 12 S. Main St.; Westminster Presbyterian at 2080 Boulevard; First Baptist at 90 N. Main St.; and Farmington Avenue Baptist at 155 Mountain Road, police said.
“They seem to have an indication of the best times to make a profit from their crimes,” Gove said.
No church staff was present during any of the break-ins and no vandalism was reported, police said.
The spree was unusual, Gove said, partly because churches are uncommon targets for thieves. In Wethersfield, the United Methodist Church at 150 Prospect St. was targeted Jan. 22 but nothing was reported stolen.
“They’re looking for cash or valuables,” Gove said. “But it’s unusual because you would think that people would respect the church. We will sometimes get a car broken into during church services but even that is unusual.”