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Police: Man used sledgehammer to enter church, took van
The Gwinnett County Police Department needs the public’s help in identifying this man, whom they say is a burglary suspect. - photo by For The Times

A man used a sledgehammer to break into a Buford church Jan. 17 and left with the church’s van, police said.

Gwinnett County Police are looking for the man who also stole clothing and headphones from the Salt and Light Presbyterian Church on South Lee Street.

Police said the man was seen on surveillance footage between Jan. 16 and 17, having stayed on the property for about 10 hours.

“Initially he slept on the outdoor heating unit that was emitting steam to keep warm,” Cpl. Michele Pihera wrote in an email. “The next morning, he used a sledgehammer to break into the church.”

Police found a black and yellow sledgehammer outside of the door.

Members of the church found a pair of blue jeans and socks that were “frozen solid.” A winter jacket was reported missing from the church.

The van is a gray 2008 Chevrolet Express 15-passenger vehicle that has a “Salt and Light Presbyterian Church” decal in English and Korean on both sides.

The man appeared to be between 5-foot-6 and 6-foot-1, weighing approximately 160 pounds and having short brown hair. He also has tattoos on his right arm.

Anyone with information is asked to call the detectives at 770-513-5300. 

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward up to $2,000 for information leading to an arrest and indictment. Crime Stoppers can be reached at 404-577-8477 or