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Ashley Rodrigue / Eyewitness News
Email: arodrigue@wwltv.com | Twitter: @ashleyrwwl

ROBERT, La. -- The pastor of Crossgate Church of Robert, which was burglarized Monday morning, says the safe stolen has been recovered, but was money was removed.

The safe was found behind Champ Cooper Elementary School in the Ponchatoula area by the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office. The cash is all gone, but the old checkbooks were still there.

Payroll, which was in a briefcase, is still missing. The suspects are still out there.

Busted glass shows how burglars broke into Crossgate Church of Robert.

Pastor Louis Husser explains the rest.

'They came through this sliding glass right here and moved that back, came right through there. Nothing else was disturbed, so obviously they knew that the safe was in this area and they came directly to this area and opened up this,' he said, 'Took everything from Sunday's offering, took children's Vacation Bible School offering that was there also. They took checkbooks, payroll.'

That Vacation Bible School collection was at least $1,000, raised by dozens of children for a missionary project in the Philippines.

'I had saved about $200 and I thought it'd be fun to give to the kids to put in the offering so each kid would have a little something to put in the offering every night,' said Julia Lassalle.

Husser said, 'It's just money, and our people are giving people, but now we have to explain to our children that what they gave is gone and we'll have to do something and they'll come up with something because we still want to give to this cause.'

'It's really sad that someone would steal from children and their families,' said Lassalle.

This isn't the first time this church has been targeted for a break-in. Eighteen years ago some property was taken, and then in 2004 sound equipment and some petty cash.

But even now, the church is still forgiving of whoever is behind any of the crimes.

'They'll learn a lesson in forgiveness and whoever did this, when they get caught, they'll learn a good lesson in justice,' said Husser, 'When this person is caught, we're going to sit down with them and say, 'Okay, you did what you did. So now, let's help you turn your life around.''

The Crossgate Church of Robert is asking the community not to accept any checks from the church that come in as long as the case is still open. If you have any information about this crime, call the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office.

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