Thief fails to ruin back-to-school giveaway at Dallas church

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by SHON GABLES

Bio | Email | Follow: @shongables

WFAA

Posted on August 25, 2013 at 9:33 PM

Updated Sunday, Aug 25 at 9:35 PM

Philadelphia Missionary Baptist Church

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DALLAS — There's good reason why the praise singers were so happy at Calvary Philadelphia Missionary Baptist Church Sunday morning.

Lying next to the altar were mounds and mounds of backpacks filled with school supplies.

For this South Dallas congregation, it is nothing short of a miracle.

"I still can't believe that this happened, but it has happened," said Pastor Joe H. Moore Jr.

You see, a thief stole what the church had originally planned to give away.

Moore said it happened around 3:45 a.m. Friday. The church's surveillance camera caught a unknown suspect kicking doors down inside the building.

The camera captured a close-up photo of the burglar. Moore said he sported a goatee and was wearing shorts and a T-shirt.

"He didn't come through no window no door... he came through the attic," the pastor explained.

The camera even caught the thief running down the hallway. Moore watched the surveillance video in disgust as he carried out bags of the church's school supplies, the church's laptop computers, cash, and even the shoes of the youth pastor's wife.

Moore didn't mince words: "I was upset."

The pastor said he was about to cancel his annual back-to-school giveaway when complete strangers did the most angelic thing and donated more than what had been stolen.

All of the supplies were placed on the altar as a sign of thanks to God.

"Even though everything was taken away, we were blessed by community, members, and friends," Pastor Moore said.

Those friends donated almost 400 backpacks filled with school supplies, and soon to be in the hands of neighborhood kids headed for their first day of school.

Pastor Moore was humbled. "Even in spite of what happened, we are still grateful that we are able to do it in the midst of the storm."

Investigators have yet to identify the suspect. If you recognize the photos, please call Dallas police.

Meanwhile, students can pick up those free school supplies Monday afternoon from 4 until 6 p.m.

E-mail sgables@wfaa.com

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