Buffalo police released images of two burglars who broke into the True Bethel Baptist Church on E. Ferry Street last weekend.
Rev. Darius Pridgen, pastor of the church and president of the Buffalo Common Council, put out a plea on Facebook for the young men to turn themselves in to him. The church has surveillance video showing them breaking a window and then trying to open doors inside. In exchange, he said he would back off his criminal complaint with the police and give them a chance to make restitution.
He gave them until Wednesday night.
By Thursday morning, the Facebook posts had been shared more than 1,000 times but the burglars did not come forward.
"The short answer to the question, did the young men who broke into the church on Saturday night turn themselves in, is no," Pridgen wrote on a new post Thursday morning. "However those who say no one cares in the community is false. Hundreds of people were inquiring and doing their best to help. Between the two FB pages over 1,000 people shared the post. That is a community that cares and wants to help. I in no way regret offering the alternative of law enforcement interaction. At this point I am in deep prayer not only for these young men but for people who feel it is either necessary or allowable to commit crimes that affect entire neighborhoods."
Pridgen added that there was no reason for the young men to try to steal from the church.
"We have a clothing ministry where we GIVE AWAY clothes," he wrote. "We have a food pantry where we GIVE AWAY food. We have a food truck where [we] GIVE AWAY meals. We have a mobile computer coach where we will HELP YOU search and apply for jobs and get back in school. NO NEED TO STEAL, if we can't help you we will refer you. Now it's in law enforcement's hands, and the ironic thing is I will still help do whatever I can to help these young men – if they want it."
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