Vehicles in 3 Winston-Salem church parking lots broken into during services

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Winston-Salem police are warning the public to be more vigilant this holiday season after vehicles in three separate church parking lots were broken into on Sunday.

The above video shows two people making their way through the back of the First Calvary Baptist Church, checking out a few vehicles, before breaking into two cars behind the church. What they may not have known, is one of those vehicles belongs to the pastor, Derwin Montgomery, who’s also a Winston-Salem city councilman.

“I think your first emotions are ... some anger,” Montgomery said. “You could have just come and asked.”

The video was taken as the service was happening inside the church. The message of yesterday’s service was of the “responsibility to take care of the least, the last, the lonely,” Montgomery said.

After opening the cars three times, and sitting near the road in between, a woman walks across the parking lot and the crooks duck out of sight. Around the same time, another camera shows members of the congregation exiting the church at the end of the service.

“If we’re inside, and you’re worshiping, and there’s nobody out watching, it’s a prime opportunity for somebody to do wrong,” Montgomery said.

These vehicles may not have been the only ones these people targeted. While police have not said they’re connected, they have said that vehicles in two other church parking lots -- Zion Memorial Baptist and Diggs Memorial United Holy Churches -- were broken into as well.

All of the vehicles were broken into during Sunday’s services.

“If somebody has gotten to the point where they feel the need to steal, there are a whole lot of other things going on in their lives,” Montgomery said.

Montgomery said he has forgiven the people in the video, and understand they must have been desperate, but that doesn’t justify what they did.

“Come, come let us really help you,” Montgomery said, addressing the people who stole from him. “Come let us really support you because what you stole is not going to get you over whatever you’re dealing with.”