Pastor's office at Bellport Mission ransacked, money taken

Kristin Thorne with the story from Bellport, Long Island.
April 4, 2014 4:59:40 PM PDT
Police are looking for someone who ransacked Pastor Jim Ryan's office Wednesday, stealing hundreds of dollars in gift cards and donations that Ryan had left in his Bible.

"I know it was tucked in the Gospel Matthew, because I was teaching on that, actually," said Ryan, who works at the Lighthouse Mission in Bellport.

The gift cards were meant for needy families and the cash was for the mission's teen programs.

"In the grand scheme of things in New York, $900 in gift cards and money may not sound like a lot but for us, an organization that relies completely on donations, that's a big deal," he said. "It's a game changer not to have that."

The mission also was hit in December 2012 when someone broke through the same door and took hundreds of dollars in gift cards. It's unclear if this is the work of the same person.

"Since then, we ramped up our security. A company donated an alarm system to us," said Ryan.

But that alarm apparently didn't deter the suspect this time. Ryan believes gang members, upset that he is trying to lead kids away from gangs, may be responsible, adding that a few weeks ago he was shot at while he was driving.

The lesson here, however, is about forgiveness, he said.

"I forgive the person who shot my Jeep, I forgive the person who stole the money and I would love to talk to whomever it might be," said Ryan.