May 16, 2917:   Thieves have stolen almost JMD 1 million (USD 7,600+) worth of equipment from Kitson Town Seventh-day Adventist Church near Jamaica’s capital, Kingston.

The Jamaica Observer reports that the robbery took place either on Friday night, May 12 or early Saturday morning, May 13.

Audiovisual equipment including television sets were stolen.

An elder of the church, Paul Beckford, claimed that the theft had “crippled” the church’s ability to do effective outreach in the community.

“It is a sad reminder to us of how low the society has sunk,” said the church’s pastor, Javian Hutton.

“The church would have been regarded in the past as a holy building, but for criminal elements in their pursuits, anything goes. That is a very sad reality.”

Due to the timing of the robbery, church services on May 13 were disrupted as part of the grounds were treated as a crime scene by police.

As law enforcement inspected the property, the Jamaica Observer reports that “shouts of “we have to get them back” echoed from the service as the Adventists lamented their loss.”

The church is actively involved in the community. It runs the Kitson Town SDA Evening Institute in which teachers volunteer to coach local youth who struggle academically.

It also provides a community outreach program to help local residents in need.

The US Department of State states that burglary is quite common in Jamaica because of a lack of adequate policing. Private armed security is used by those that can afford the expense.

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