• Thieves steal thousands from First Baptist of Orlando


    ORLANDO, Fla. - For the first time in 125 years, someone stole offerings from Orlando's largest church.

    Pastors with First Baptist Church of Orlando said between $40,000 and $50,000 in donations was stolen from a secure drop safe after the offerings were collected July 15.

    "The thought of coming into a church and taking money that had been given for the Lord's work, you've got to be driven by something pretty bad," said church Pastor David Uth.

    When pastors at the church broke the news that thieves stole the money from the church there was silence, Uth said.

    "One of the things I said was 'Let's pray for these people or this person,' and there was an audible response," said Uth

    Some of those who give to the church said they have already forgiven the thieves.

    "Jesus loves them no matter what," said church member Rick Hudnett.

    Senior Associate Pastor Danny de Armas said if the thieves needed money, they could have just asked.

    "We give it away. They don't have to steal it," said de Armas.

    Money from the collection was supposed to help the church's ministry in the local community and send missionaries overseas.

    Church leaders said they are concerned that the thieves have their hands on thousands of checks and information for credit card accounts.

    According to de Armas, investigators don't yet know if the theft was an inside job. He said whoever did it got past significant security measures.

    "It is mind-boggling what they were able to do. But they did it," said de Armas.

    Uth said he wants the thief or thieves to know that there is still time to do the right thing.

    "We love you, and we forgive you, because we've been forgiven," said Uth.

    Pastors from the church said they aren't aware of any identity theft yet. But they said if you gave to First Baptist Church of Orlando by check or credit card on Sunday, July 14, you need to confirm that your contribution was received by calling 407-514-4527.

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