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SUNDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2006
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A real-life Grinch strikes local church
Burglar hauls away gifts for children from youth ‘store’

By Melanie B. Smith
msmith@decaturdaily.com· 340-2468

The Rev. Milton Proctor Sr. looked incredulous as he told of a burglary at the church he pastors.

A criminal took the church’s plastic trash bags and used them to haul away gifts that should have gone to faithful children and teens.

Garner Memorial Christian Methodist Episcopal Church now has bare shelves in its “store” for youths. Proctor hopes the public will help fill them again.

The burglar took DVDs, video games, dolls, watches, books, a few pieces of jewelry and other items, Proctor said.

He said youths have earned tickets all year by coming to church and Sunday school, taking their Bibles to worship, helping out cheerfully at activities, making good grades and attending vacation Bible school.

Some young people had planned to use their tickets to get Christmas gifts for parents and siblings, Proctor said.

“The kids are really disappointed,” he said.

Proctor said he assured the group that they would somehow get the church store restocked.

Young people participating don’t have to be church members. About 25 youths from age 4 through the 12th grade are in the group, including Proctor’s 12-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter.

The pastor said that he has asked church members to buy gifts or give money for purchases. Decatur Youth Services has already given $100 to help out, he said.

The burglar, who broke a basement door to get in, also stole a $600 video camera the church uses to record its services, Proctor said. The burglary was discovered Dec. 10.

Anyone interested in helping the church may call the pastor at 341-0118 or 566-5604. Garner Memorial is at 401 Cherry St. N.W.

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