Hutchinson teen arrested for church burglaries

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WICHITA, Kan. -- A 17 year old burglary suspect is in the Reno County Jail accused of breaking into two Hutchinson churches.

The alleged thief broke a window to gain entry to the First Church of God at 7th and Jefferson in Hutchinson. He kicked in doors and broke glass.

Church custodian Fred Hofflinger and his wife came by the church around seven o'clock Friday night and decided to go in when they saw the lights on.

Hofflinger said the burglar acted as if he belonged there so Hofflinger pretended to be a visitor, left and called the police. It could have been much worse because Hutchinson police said the suspect was armed.
"He could have shot us, he could have locked us in the closet", said Hofflinger. "A lot of things he could have done. He just turned around and went back to what he was doing."

Police said the burglar tried unsuccessfully to get into the church safe.
They said the suspect also hit Riverside Baptist Church the same day.
And Hutchinson Police said the suspect may be tied to some car burglaries in the area.

KAKE News is not using the name of the suspect because he is a juvenile. He is expected to make his first appearance before a judge in juvenile court on Tuesday, December 31st.
He is facing several charges including possession of a stolen firearm, burglary, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, and criminal damage to property.

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