Police: Suspect steals thousands of dollars from safe of East Mount Airy church

The Philadelphia Police Department is working to identify a burglar who stole thousands of dollars from the safe of an East Mount Airy church. 

Police say ENON Tabernacle Church, located at 2800 Cheltenham Avenue, reported to police that an unknown man burglarized the church on November 12. 

Video surveillance from the church, later released by police, shows a man in all black walking through the church's parking lot from Cheltenham Avenue. 

Police say the man broke into the church through a glass door and headed directly to the church's main office, where the safe was located. 


Police originally reported that the suspect broke into the safe and took between $20,000 to $25,000 in cash and checks. Reverend Dr. Alyn E. Waller said in a message to the church shared on social media that the lock had been emptied by church staff prior to the break in. As a result, Waller says he does not believe that the amount of money reported by police was not the real amount taken. 

After stealing the money, the suspect left the building and walked back towards the 2800 block of Cheltenham Avenue. 

"I'm not interested in seeing how in trouble we can get you, I'm interested in knowing what is happening in your life that this is your response," Pastor Waller said. 

Pastor Waller's moving message of compassion towards the thief has eared him praise from neighborhood churches and community members. 

"I applaud this pastor for saying ‘hey, if you’re in that kind of need, come talk to me because that's what we're here to do'," Reverend Chis Exley from All Hallows Church said.

Anyone with information is urged to contact police at 215-686-8477 or submit an anonymous tip online. 

"Our concern is that if your life is hurting that much, we can give you more than you could ever take from us," Pastor Waller said.