East Austin church targeted in New Year’s Day burglary

An East Austin church was targeted in a New Year's Day burglary.

On the morning of Jan. 1, three locations on Hope Lutheran Church’s property were burglarized.

"Tuesday morning, when I came in, that’s when we discovered the building behind us and the shed out back, that they had broken into those two places as well," said Carl Repp, director of community engagement.

The building Repp referred to is used by Texas Empowerment Academy, a charter school. About 20 Chromebooks were stolen along with a flat-screen TV.

The other storage rooms that were broken into contained maintenance equipment. The burglar got away with a lawn mower, power washer, leaf blower and other tools.

Part of the burglary was caught on camera. Repp said the man seen in the Ring video appeared to take his time and came equipped with pry bars and other tools. 

"He didn’t seem to care about the cameras," said Repp.

Repp estimated that the total cost, taking into account necessary repairs plus stolen items, may be $10,000 to $15,000. They are not sure how much insurance will cover.

Repp said they have been burglarized and vandalized in the past, noting that incidents like these really only started in the past few years or so.

"It’s disheartening that somebody would do this to a church, but what's more disheartening is the fact that it’s more common to see people stealing than actually going to get the help they need," said Repp. "If people come to us, and we can support them and help them we do that; I'd much rather have him come and ask us for help than steal stuff."

On Jan. 9, Repp said he got a call from APD, and they were able to file a police report so that they can move forward with an insurance claim.