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Vandals continue to target Dawson churches

2 congregations report computers, musical equipment, electronics were stolen

POSTED: March 26, 2014 11:30 p.m.

Vandals have targeted as many as six Dawson County churches in recent months, including two where several thousands of dollars of electrical equipment was taken.

New Life Church of God on Ga. 53 west of Ga. 400 is the most recent worship center struck in what authorities are calling a rash of burglaries and near break-ins.

Dawson County Sheriff’s Capt. Tony Wooten said there was significant damage to the lawn near the back of the sanctuary on the morning of March 19.

“It appears that the individuals were in a truck and got stuck in the mud and maybe got scared and left instead of going into the church,” he said.

Two other local congregations were not as fortunate.

Sheriff’s Maj. Ray Goodie said computers, musical equipment and other electronics were taken Feb. 16 from the Church at War Hill on Ga. 53 east of Ga. 400 and on March 2 from First Baptist Church of Dawsonville on Ga. 9 north of the city.

An undisclosed amount of money was also reported missing.

Someone has entered New Bethel Baptist Church on Ga. 136 twice and Calvary Baptist Church on Howser Mill Road and New Life Baptist Church on Bagwell Circle once each since December, according to Goodie.

“We’re increasing patrols and have new measures in place to try to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” Goodie said.

There have also been church burglaries reported in neighboring Lumpkin County.

Investigators are trying to determine if the cases are related.

“We feel pretty certain the suspects at War Hill and First Baptist are the same because of the items that they took,” Wooten said.

Similar incidents have not been reported in Hall, according to Hall County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Nicole Bailes, who said Dawson authorities had shared the information with them.

Anyone with information on the church burglaries can call 706-344-3636.

Times staff contributed to this report.


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