81ºF

Several vehicles burglarized at SW Houston church

HOUSTON – Police are looking for at least three men accused of breaking into more than a dozen cars at a southwest Houston church.

"When we were younger, we did respect the house of God. This is a time where people have learned that they don't respect the house of God or anyone or anything else,” said Dexter Kyle Sr., pastor of the Greater Truth Temple Worship Center. 

Kyle said they were at the end of church service when someone notified members that people were breaking into cars in the church parking lot. 

They went through glove boxes and took a gun and laptop. 

"They actually beat every  car with their hand and left blood,” Kyle said. "Somebody left their cellphone and so they (police) used the cellphone, to do some tracking and came up with some really good things."

Officers at the scene said they were able to get a lot of good leads based on the cellphone that was left behind. 

Kyle said his church has security guards, and that many of his members are licensed to carry. The pastor said the church has hosted gun classes in the past for its members. 

"We're grateful that we didn't interact at the time because it could have been much worse,” Kyle said. 

Surveillance video shows the suspects driving into the parking lot, get out and start breaking into cars. The video shows they left, but later came back, possibly looking for that cellphone. 

“I saw somebody drive up into the driveway. I approached a vehicle  to see what was going on. They asked if there was still church service going on, then I noticed two young men,” said Timothy Townsel, a member of the church. 

His young son told him there was something happening in the parking lot, and when he went to look, that’s when he saw the suspects. 

“I was trying to get them to stop (the car). They put the car in drive and started driving off,” Townsel said. 

He went to look at his SUV, and the suspects did break into his vehicle. 

"It kind of aggravated me a little bit simple fact that somebody would come on a church ground,” Townsel said.

He said even though it’s a frustrating situation, he took the opportunity to teach his son about the moment. 

"I told him, 'People make bad decisions at times. I don’t wish anything bad on the guy, just pray for them and pray for someone in that situation because you never know what's going on,'” Townsel said.