Church members surprise, tie up crooks

Officials: Church targeted by burglars before

HOUSTON - Members of a small, southwest Houston church gained the upper hand on some crooks Saturday, officials said.

Around 3:00 a.m. Saturday, police said the crooks smashed through cinder blocks outside the Templo La Hermosa church in the 6200 block of Willowbend near Bob White Drive.

Church officials said the crooks were after their musical instruments. What they didn't know was that church members were already en route after an alarm alerted them to the break in, officials said.

Pastor Franklin Peraza said it was the quick action of his members that turned the tables on the crooks.

"He opens the door and sees one guy in my office and tries to get the drawers from my cabinet," said Peraza. "They both were shocked to see each other, so the member closed the door and locked the bad guy in."

Peraza said while members held the suspect in the office, they heard some noise coming from the ceiling. Moments later, Peraza said another suspect came crashing through. The members again moved into action, tying the suspect up while they waited for police.

According to Peraza, the church has been targeted by crooks before. He said two weeks earlier, someone stole a musical keyboard and other equipment. Two years before that, he said thieves stole all of the church instruments.

Peraza said he has a message for crooks.

"If they need money, ask for it," said Peraza. "But not stealing. Especially the house of the Lord."

Officials said some of the instruments the crooks got away with were found a few blocks away.

Sunday school went on as usual Sunday morning, but after this, Peraza said all the instruments will be taken home.

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