Car prowler strikes church parking lot during Sunday school

SILVANA, Wash. -- Car prowlers will stop at nothing to get valuables even if the car is inside a church parking lot.

Victims in Snohomish County said prowlers have struck three times in as many weeks at the Peace Lutheran Church.

One victim said she ran inside to drop her kids off at Sunday school, but when she returned the window to her car was shattered and her purse was gone.

“I was just in tears when I saw it,” said Manja Brower.

Brower said she didn’t even notice the stranger that pulled his car next to hers in the church’s parking lot around 9 a.m. Sunday morning.

It only took a few seconds for the crook to steal her purse and sense of security.

“My wedding ring was in there as well,” she said. “I want the kids to be safe and the kids were really sweet. They felt really bad. Just trying to use this to teach them that Jesus loves the bad guys.”

Church organizers said prowlers and burglars have been targeting the property for months.

“You violate one, you violate all,” said church organizer Cheri Gonzales.

Surveillance video from Sunday shows a thief making sure the area is clear before smashing Brower’s passenger side window. Moments later he grabs her purse and makes a quick getaway.

Church youth services coordinator Mary Fuentes said thieves broke into her car just last week.

“Pulled up right next to our cars,” she said.

Church organizers said during the season of giving, they would rather someone ask for help instead of resorting to crime.

“There’s help available, please ask for help,” said Gonzales. “Don’t violate the innocent.”

Church organizers said they shared the surveillance video with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office but so far police have not made any arrests.