Thieves have stolen iron fence panels and a gate from an Oak Cliff church in Dallas, forcing the religious institution to spend thousands of dollars on replacements.

"I was like this cannot be happening," said Pastor Tavares Gardner of The Way Fellowship Church of Dallas.

Dallas Texas

Installed as a security measure to prevent recurrent break-ins, eight panels were found missing from the fence at the back of the church's parking lot.

According to Pastor Tavares Gardner of The Way Fellowship Church of Dallas, the robbers would have had to use a saw to remove the well-cut piece of wrought iron fencing, evident from the red paint left behind from the tool.

"We have this finely cut piece of wrought iron fence gone," said Pastor Gardner. "So they had to use some type of saw."

Fence installed to prevent theft stolen from Oak Cliff church
The Fence that was installed to prevent theft was stolen from Oak Cliff church.

The pastor urged other businesses and churches to increase their security measures, suggesting the theft would have required some level of knowledge and skill in dealing with fences. The theft occurred sometime between Sunday service and Monday afternoon.

This Church Has Been Having Problems With Theft

"We've had multiple break-ins prior to getting the gates. We've had people come in and smash our front windows, doors right here with rocks and came in and took our media equipment," said Pastor Gardner.

Refugee man running behind fence
Getty Images

Why Doesn't The Church Move?

Despite what the church has lost, they have chosen to stay in the community.

"We are supposed to be a beacon of light in this community. Know the way, go the way, and show the way, so we're not moving. We're here to stay," Pastor Gardner explained.

"We had a huge sliding gate, as you can see, that goes through these rollers is now gone, so that took some time. That was methodical. For you to unhinge, take that off of this track, off of the roller, so this was intentional," Pastor Gardner said. "We just want to bring awareness to businesses and churches around to be on the lookout, step up your security as well."

A Message To The Thieves From Paster Gardner

"God bless you, but the wrath of God will be upon you for taking from the house of God," said Pastor Gardner when a news reporter asked him what he wanted to say to the thieves.

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