Church member tails burglar, police apprehend

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Friday, February 1, 2008

MILLINGTON, Tenn.--A Sunday School superintendent who was awoken in the early morning of Dec. 17 by a phone call from his church's security company, not only verified an intrusion in-progress, but pursued the burglar by vehicle until police arrived.
Millington Alarm Company called Eddie Harris at 4:30 a.m. to inform him that motion detectors installed at the Friendship United Methodist Church had been set off. According to a Memphis news report, Harris, who lives only a short distance from the church, drove over to investigate and upon arrival discovered a truck parked outside. Harris waited in his vehicle until the burglar exited the church, and then attempted to block the driveway to prevent the burglar from escaping. When the burglar maneuvered around him, Harris pursued the truck until a police officer caught up with the pair and eventually apprehended the thief.
Associate pastor Dr. Elvernice Davis told Security Systems News that the thief only made off with a set of speakers, which were later recovered, but the break-in caused more than $8,000 worth of damage. "The thief was bleeding profusely [after breaking a stain glass window] so there was blood on the floor and carpet and on the pews and altar," he said.
He said the church had installed its security system more than five years ago and "had never had anything of this nature happen before. We've never had a full-fledged burglary."
Wayne Umberger, the manager of Millington Alarm Company, which has been in operation for over 30 years, was not familiar with this particular incident, but said that his company followed procedure and was glad it resulted in a positive outcome. "The procedure requires us to first contact the call-out list and find out what they wish to do. Whether they want us to call the police department or not is up to them. It's our job to tell someone what's going on."