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Ira Grove Free Will Baptist Church robbery victims talk about the crime

10:35 PM, Jan 29, 2013   |    comments
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By Art Holliday

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (KSDK) - "They yelled everybody down," said church member Mary White. "We want all jewelry, all cell phones, all wallets."

White was describing what happened when three robbers walked into the Ira Grove Free Will Baptist Church Sunday evening. Two men were in custody for questioning Tuesday, but no charges have been filed. East St. Louis police and the Major Case Squad of St. Louis interviewed church members who were robbed for several hours Tuesday night.

The robbers took $20 from church member Mary White. She was afraid they might take her life.

"I just don't know what would make someone defile the house of god like that," said White.

"Why would you come in and rob the house of God?" wonders Orlando McGill, one of more than 100 church-goers who were robbed. McGill was a guest speaker and was at the pulpit microphone when the robbery started.

"He walked up and lifted up his arm like this and pointed the gun at my head. He walked up to the pulpit and told me to get down on the ground."

No shots were fired and no one was hurt, but emotions are still raw for the church members who were robbed. Is it possible to forgive someone who pointed a gun at you?

"Yes, I forgive them because god forgave me so I have to forgive him," said McGill.

Reverend Henry Jones says his church welcomes anyone who needs assistance, whether it's financial help or food, but that's not what the robbers were looking for.

"I think I can help them," said Jones, "but I think they should pay for their crimes."

KSDK

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