Blind pastor left shaken after burglars ransack East Palo Alto church

EAST PALO ALTO, Calif. (KTVU) - A place of worship was ransacked by burglars in the South Bay and the timing couldn't be worse.

The thefts occurred at New Sweet Home Church of God in Christ in East Palo Alto as the church prepares for its 75th anniversary of service to the community.

The burglars struck at some point between Sunday and overnight Tuesday.

The suspects entered through an unlocked back window. They not only took pricey electronics but they took the pastor's sense of security who happens to be blind.

Churches are a sacred place where people feel most safe. However, the pastor at New Sweet Home Church said he feels anything but safe.

"I feel invaded," said Reverend Albert Malkin. "Being a blind pastor, I'm normally in this building more than anybody. I'm here majority of the time by myself."

Around 6 a.m. Tuesday, a prayer group discovered a 70-inch flat screen television that had been bolted to the wall yanked out.

Upstairs, the metal door to the church's finance room was kicked in, and the electronic lock was busted. Down the hall, the media room was trashed. Two machines used to duplicate DVDs of church services were stolen.

"You don't have a heart," said Rev. Malkin. "It takes a heartless person to do acts of this kind."

The break-in cost the church tens of thousands of dollars.

"This is the first time that I know the church has been burglarized," said Sgt. Angel Sanchez of East Palo Alto Police. "For the last several weeks we have had no burglaries in the area other than the one that occurred at the Shell Gas Station."

Police said it's unclear if this was a targeted crime or a crime of opportunity. The church does not have surveillance video.

While Pastor Albert Malkin prays for the suspects, he would press charges saying everyone is welcome in the Lord's house, but to come to the church to steal from it is the wrong idea.

"It's our 75th anniversary in two weeks," said Rev. Malkin "We need to get our offices back in order, replace our doors and replace our equipment."

The pastor is grateful the holiest part of the church, the sanctuary, was untouched.