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Dale County’s Morgan Baptist burglarized; church members see opportunity for ministrycomment (0)

April 3, 2014

By Neisha Fuson

In the early morning hours March 24 a man broke into Morgan Baptist Church, Skipperville, claiming he was “hungry.” 

Church members Ed Roberts and Shaun Thompson, who both have homes next to the Dale Baptist Association church, called the police when they heard their dogs barking and saw a man leaving the church pulling a garbage can filled with items from the church. 

Andrew Payne Hartzog, 23, broke a window to get inside the building and piled frozen meats, canned goods, drinks, grits, ketchup, paper plates, cleaning supplies and other items into a garbage can and proceeded to drag the items back to his mother’s home in the community near County Road 64 in Skipperville. 

According to deacon Ralph “Pete” Gassett, Thompson ran after the burglar and caught him just before Dale County police officers arrived on the scene.

Hartzog was arrested and charged with felony third-degree burglary and misdemeanor third-degree theft of property and taken to the Dale County Jail. 

He was later released on a $3,000 bond. 

And according to Gassett the church will not be pressing charges against him. 

All the stolen items were returned to the church and the window was replaced with a window left over from previous renovations. 

“We didn’t incur any expense. We were blessed,” Gassett

And instead of dwelling on the burglary, Gassett and his wife decided to take some food to Hartzog’s mother later that day. 

Having lived in the community for years, the Gassetts knew where the house was located “just up the road” and took the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the woman. 

“We only want to help (the Hartzog family),” Gassett said, noting he hopes to see this become a witnessing opportunity and wants to invite the family to church. 

Bivocational pastor Kyle Robertson said he also saw the situation as “just another
way to minister to people in need.”

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