WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KRON) — A religious facility in the East Bay is dealing with its fourth break-in in less than six months. Leaders at the Walnut Creek Islamic Center said police are investigating but have not found any suspects.
Operations Manager Tarek El-Dardiri said both he and police believe the same person is behind all four break-ins. The suspect wore a mask but was still caught by the dozen security cameras throughout the facility.
Security camera video catches the moment two men jump a fence surrounding the religious center around 4:15 a.m. on Saturday. The men walked around looking for doors they could kick in.
“It’s really very annoying, we feel exposed,” said El-Dardiri.
The first break-in occurred on September 19, then twice in January, and again on Saturday.
El-Dardiri believes the man from the January break-in was also a part of Saturday’s break-in based off of photos from both incidents. In the first break-in, the suspect targeted donations boxes that used to be outside the buildings within the gated facility.
“Of course, something like that, that breaches the security and serenity is annoying, very annoying,” said El-Dardiri.
The facility is an open-air corridor with buildings surrounding it. El-Dardiri said the men looked for doors that opened inward so they could kick the door in more easily.
There are still shoe prints on the doors from the kicks, and cracks in the door frame. This time the suspects found the donations boxes that were moved inside the buildings.
“We are going into the month of Ramadan. We had donations, checks and he saw it inside and he took that,” said El-Dardiri.
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Security video shows the men breaking a donation box and pulling out the money. They also took a monitor and some tools.
El-Dardiri has handed all security footage over to police, but also wants the community to know of these incidents. “What happened to us can happen to the church next to us or our neighbors,” said El-Dardiri.
Leaders at the Walnut Creek Islamic Center are taking precautions to protect the facility and are moving to an electronic donation format. Anyone with information about the break-ins are asked to call Walnut Creek police.