Church papers, checks stolen

Press-Enterprise , CA
Feb 26 2005

Church papers, checks stolen

“VIOLATED”: Rancho Mirage parishioners’ personal information was
taken from a social hall.

By MONIQUE H. HENDERSON / Special to The Press-Enterprise
Armenian Apostolic Church of the Desert

For more information on the theft or to find out if your information
was stolen, contact the church at (760) 773-2155.

Donation records, construction contracts and other sensitive personal
information are among items reportedly stolen from a newly built
Armenian church in Rancho Mirage.

The break-in at the Armenian Apostolic Church of the Desert is
believed to have occurred late last week, according to Parish Council
Chairman V.J. Mkrtchian.

Police discovered the break-in after a neighbor’s alarm sounded at
about 3 a.m. Saturday, Mkrtchian said. The church’s checkbooks,
computers, a $6,000 sound system and food also were taken.

The items were housed in the church’s social hall, which was
completed about six weeks ago. Worship services are being held in the
hall while negotiations continue on construction of a sanctuary.

The social hall had an alarm system, but it apparently did not sound
during the break-in, Mrktchian said. Several doors leading into the
hall were broken, according to Mkrtchian.

“We are investigating what happened with the alarm,” he said.

Church members have been notified about the break-in and about the
missing financial documents, Mkrtchian said. Many members were
particularly concerned to know their social security numbers and
banking information are in the hands of criminals.

“People are very disappointed, angry and confused,” he said of the
church’s estimated 50 members. “We are not a business. This is God’s
house – it’s where we hold our services. You feel violated when
something like this happens. You like to think that God’s house is a
safe place.”