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Grants Pass church upset over break-ins, vandalism

GRANTS PASS — A local church is growing tired of the break-ins and property damages on Dowell Road, members said.

Solid Rock Baptist Church, formerly College Heights Baptist Church, was yet again the victim of a break-in last weekend when someone forced open a fence enclosure to gain access to the vehicles parked there.

The fuel line to a van was cut and the gas siphoned out. A brand-new battery was stolen from a bus used to transport children to the church from school for Bible study programs.

"The gate was bent back when I went out to check on the buses on Saturday morning," said Jim Cunningham, who works with the Child Evangelism Fellowship, the group that uses the church grounds for the buses and van.

It isn't the first time this has happened or the first kind of crime committed on the church grounds either.

Church officials told the Daily Courier that several break-ins and acts of vandalism that resulted in property damage have occurred on the church grounds at 1238 Dowell Road over the past couple of years.

"We've had our sheds broken into and gardening tools stolen," Pastor William Woody said. "Last year, someone took the riding lawnmower from the shed and then dumped it in a nearby canal."

The buses and van have been targets in past incidents, too, as this isn't the first time that gas has been stolen and the gate needed repairs.

Each incident leads to hundreds of dollars in costs to replace stolen property and repair the fencing.

"Mocks Ford actually gave us a discount on the repairs this time since we're frequent fliers by this point," office clerk Liz Law said.

The church is looking into installing security cameras so that if someone tries this again, it could actually lead to criminal prosecution.

"It's just crazy because you'd think at this location being so close to the highway might deter people from trying," Woody said.

Reach reporter Troy Shinn at 541-474-3806 or tshinn@thedailycourier.com.