By Message Staff
COVINGTON – Four months after suspected arson caused extensive damage to Bayou Baptist Church in Slidell, another facility in the Northshore Baptist Association has been victimized by criminals.
At least $20,000 worth of disaster relief equipment from the chainsaw unit for Woodland Park Baptist Church in Hammond and the feeding unit for the association was stolen between Jan. 24 and Feb. 5, according to Director of Missions Lonnie Wascom.
Stolen items include eight Stihl chainsaws, tools, tables, a commercial grade pneumatic can opener, compressors, stainless steel preparation tables, propane burners and the full range of feeding unit equipment.
An investigation is ongoing to find those responsible for stealing the equipment.
“The detective in charge and I have talked and he is asking people to keep an eye on social media for the posting of anything that looks or sounds like our stuff,” Wascom said. “They are processing the locks that were penetrated at the crime lab and he is asking for tips. The trailers were stored where they can be seen, thinking no one would want to break in to them being they were where everyone driving could see them.
“We want it all back,” Wascom said. “We want to be up and running by the start of hurricane season.”
Wascom is saddened this is the second time churches in the association have been the victims of a crime.
On Oct. 22, 2015 fire heavily damaged all of the buildings on the grounds of Bayou Baptist Church in Slidell. The fire destroyed a part of the building that houses classrooms, a nursery and the kitchen. While the sanctuary did not burn to the ground, the interior sustained a significant amount of damage from the smoke and water.
The church has received money from the insurance company to rebuild the church on the same location. Volunteers will be needed in the near future to help rebuild the facility.
There have been no arrests in either incident.