Thief Targets Several Wichita Churches

By: Lily Wu - Email
By: Lily Wu - Email

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Police are looking for a woman, 20-30, dark hair with highlights or streaks, and with multiple tattoos on her neck, shoulders, and arms.

"All my credit cards, my social security card. She got everything," said Marilyn Johnson.

Marilyn was one of at least five victims during Wednesday's string of church thefts.

She saw a woman walk in, then out of the locker room while she was getting ready to leave.

"I thought maybe she's a daughter, looking for her mother. Within less than a minute, she, like grease lightning, walked passed me and went out," said Marilyn.

It wasn't until she went back to her belongings that she saw her car keys missing.

"My keys were in plain sight because I had them ready to leave," said Marilyn.

Moments earlier, that same woman had walked into the Immanuel Baptist Church in downtown Wichita, asking about having a wedding at the church.

"They normally call first, so that was a little odd. I just thought she was upset and left abruptly because she wasn't a member of the church and couldn't get married here. I had no idea that she had other plans," said Angela Barton, staff members at Immanuel Baptist Church.

The woman had plans that included stealing Marilyn's car keys and driving off in her car, with Marilyn's purse in the trunk.

Marilyn was not alone.

The same thing happened to another person at the Pawnee Avenue Church of God. Personal items were stole from three other churches, including: Central Christian Church, Countryside Christian Church, and Parkview Baptist Church.

"Same individual was going to churches. [She was] going inside, looking around, acting as if she knew what she was doing, and was going through personal property and taking keys," said Lt. Doug Nolte, Wichita Police.

Marilyn said this is a lesson learned about strangers.

"I still love my church and trust the people here. But it did make me think that I'm going to be a little more forward when I see strangers," said Marilyn.

Police are looking for two stolen vehicles, 2004 silver Buick LeSabre with a tag XIU 571 and 1998 silver Jeep Cherokee.

If you have any information about the stolen vehicles and/or the woman, you're asked to call 9-1-1.


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