Police warn churches in 2 states after services interrupted by scammers

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FRANKLIN, Ky. (WKRN) – During Sunday service at Faith Baptist Church in Franklin, Kentucky, the pastor said a man and his family barged in and demanded money.

According to Pastor David Pierce, the man claimed to speak little English and just kept repeating “money.”

“I think he wanted to strike fear in us,” the pastor said. “I didn’t have time to think about being scared.”

There were two women and at least two children with him. They kept quiet.

At one point, the pastor said the man grabbed the collection plate and went around to members, making it clear he wanted $400 so he could get his family back to California.

None of the church members gave the man money.

“He was so angry. He marched right out, got in his car and left,” Pierce said.

Franklin police are now circulating a picture someone apparently snapped that shows the family’s van with a California plate.

“I think they’ll just take a Sunday and hit one certain area. Then another Sunday, hit another area,” said Lt. Dale Adams with the Franklin Police Department.

Lt. Adams said it appears these people are traveling to churches up and down I-65 in southern Kentucky and Tennessee. He said they’ve hit towns like Middleton, Bowling Green, White House, and Portland.

“We’ve heard from a few of them but a lot of it’s just been circulating on social media,” said Lt. Adams. “Churches are used to helping people in need. They’re not used to calling police.”

But Lt. Adams said the church members need to call so that officers can identify the people involved and stop them in the act.

Anyone with information on the people involved is asked to contact the Franklin Police Department at 270-586-7167.

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