ST. LOUIS (KMOV) – A church in north city was burglarized Friday night and the pastor is concerned it could be in retaliation to his efforts in Ferguson.
The Church of Happiness on Cote Brillante serves about 25 people in the community and Pastor Robert White has been at its helm for the last few years, but when he entered the church today there was an unwelcome sight.
“The water fountain was gone, the generator was gone, and then I walked into this, the keyboard and the drums, the speakers and then of course this whole in the wall,” explained Pastor White.
White said it’s not the first time someone has broken in. “I’m hoping it’s a random act of violence. It’s unfortunate the church is no longer safe. Some of the folks in the community are not excited the stands that I seem to have taken, we’ve been called traitors, we’ve been called snitches,” he said.
Pastor White has been at the front lines in Ferguson and in Shaw, often helping keep the peace between police and protesters.
“Some of the protesters when they see us meeting with police or meeting with the politicians, they assume maybe were selling them out when in actuality were negotiating on their behalf,” he said.
And that rapport he’s built with police is why he says he was frustrated when he called 911.
“The police response was there’s more important things going on, priority crime, there's protests going on. I’m dumbfounded because I was out there when there were hundreds of police officers, you’re telling me you can’t spare one right now?” he said with frustration.
But we asked St. Louis Metro Police about the response time and spokesperson Schron Jackson said the church is not in the same district as where the protests were held. They received the call just before 2pm and when an officer was available around 4pm, an officer was able to go and conduct an investigation.
“The officers responding to the call at the church were not assigned to the protest detail,” Jackson responded in an email. “At the time this call was received, all officers were handling higher priority assignments.”
White said police told him there were at least three suspects and they were wearing gloves during the burglary.
But Pastor White says the burglary will not stop them from having service, nor will it stop him from continuing his work in Ferguson.
“We’re going to have services even if we have to clap our hands and stop our feet.”