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Christian Clothing Exchange Seeing an Increase in Break-Ins

Peggy Welch, director of Christian Clothing Exchange, has seen nine break-in attempts recently.

The break-ins occur at First Christian Church of Mountain Home in Gasville, AR, and it’s where Christian Clothing Exchange is located.

“Over the past year or year and-a-half, thieves had broken in six times and have made it inside thee other times,” Welch said to The Baxter Bulletin.

Welch remained on the verge of tears as she watched a handyman repair the steel door after the last attempted break-in. “They haven’t taken anything because there’s nothing of value here, nothing that could be sold. It’s just clothes and shoes, that’s it,” Welch said.

Christian Clothing Exchange gives free clothing to those in need, and with the summer months approaching, it’s a busy time. A person wearing linen clothing will perspire two times less than someone in viscose clothing, so many people in need would prefer to stay as cool as possible this summer.

But having enough materials to serve their neighbors in need isn’t the only concern the clothing exchange is facing. The organization fears the landlord might kick them out if the break-ins continue.

“The landlord has been remarkably patient with us, with all the break-ins. He’s had to fix the garage door, he’s had to fix the main door… I’m really afraid he’s going to say we need to find another place,” Welch said.

According to the National Organization of Church Security and Safety Management, Inc., there are more than 5,000 church break-ins and burglaries reported every year in the United States.

Following the recent break-ins at First Christian Church, there has been an increase in police patrol. Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery said that even though they have three deputies on patrol at any given time, it’s difficult for them to catch someone in the act of breaking in.

Sheriff Montgomery noted that although deputies will roll through during the night as they pass by, anyone witnessing any suspicious activity should call 911.

Welch has been extremely frustrated with all the recent break-ins.

“The money used to repair the doors after the break-ins is money that could be used to help people,” Welch said.

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