JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Thousands of dollars' worth of lawn equipment was stolen over the weekend from a church in the Southside Estates area of Jacksonville.
The pastor of Harmony Community Church on Forest Boulevard told News4Jax that it was the second time in five years that the church has been robbed. That's why Pastor Miles "Butch" Nelson said he believes the church was targeted.
Nelson said he discovered that the storage building was empty Saturday morning, right before the church's benefit yard sale.
"Some of it, we don't know what's missing yet," he said.
Nelson said the thieves did take off with a large riding lawn mower, several weed eaters and tools -- costing the church thousands of dollars.
"I guess they needed it worse than we did, because God will replace what we lost," Nelson said.
Without lawn equipment, the church had to hire someone else to mow its lawn.
"Our God owns a channel on a thousand hills," Nelson said. "We just pray to ask Him to sell some cows."
Despite the loss, Nelson said he forgives the thieves and he invited them to come to church on Sunday.
"That’d be great if they want to bring it back, no questions asked. We won’t call the police on them. Just bring it back. We’ll be glad to have it back," he said. "And come to church next Sunday. We’ll tell you how to get saved.”
He said the church has faith that the storage building will be filled back up with lawn equipment soon. In the meantime, Nelson said, the church is increasing security.
Anyone with information about the burglary is asked the call the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500.