Brevard County deputies said a church in Malabar was burglarized by two people Tuesday night, one of whom is actually a former member who used to be in the youth group.
Investigators said Thomas Reimer, 25, could have easily avoided going to jail if he had asked the First Baptist Church for money and food, instead of allegedly stealing it.
"Food definitely!" said Kenneth Bukowski, the church treasurer. "Right now, economically speaking, money is tight, but because he's known to us, we probably would have found some way."
Instead, sheriff's agents said Reimer and his alleged accomplice, 20-year-old Jessica Bacon, used bolt cutters and a crowbar to break into the church's office. Deputies said they allegedly tore open old offering envelopes and took the church's checkbook and credit cards out of their safe, but not the cash.
"We had a tiny amount of money for the Christmas shoe boxes that we were going to mail off to the charitable organization, and they left that on the floor, which we found interesting," said Pastor Richard Whitworth.
Most of what was stolen was food. Deputies recovered full chiller bags which were immediately returned to the church's pantry. The alleged burglars might have gotten away with it, if it wasn't for a Palm Bay police officer who saw them acting suspiciously in a nearby park.
"We were very lucky the Palm Bay Police noticed there was a suspicious car," Whitworth said.