|Updated: 9/12/2011 9:41 pm
||Published: 9/12/2011 4:05 pm
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Little Rock detectives arrest and charge 3 suspects with the robbery of a church congregation Sunday. During questioning, detectives also make a connection to another robbery at the Home Depot on Chenal Parkway two weeks ago.
Police recovered cash, jewelry and a gun from a 14, 15, and 20-year-old who detectives say robbed 18 members of the Third Baptist Church during Sunday School services on Sept. 11th.
Police say that's when detectives learned the 15-year-old and his brother, a 17-year-old are also responsible for a robbery at the Home Depot on Chenal Parkway two weeks ago.
Reverend Elmo Johnson from Third Baptist Church describes the fear of being robbed at gunpoint, but says he finds comfort now that it's all over. "I have sympathy for them as young men, and I would let them know even though they have done this, God is a forgiving God, and so are we."
Police are not releasing the names of the 14-year-old and a 15-year-old arrested. They, along with 20-year-old Larry Storay are charged with 18 counts of aggravated robbery and theft of property for the Sunday church service robbery at Third Baptist Church.
Little Rock Police Chief Stuart Thomas says this is a significant event. "Being in a church and being robbed in a church is extraordinary. You don't typically see that type of boldness and cruelty."
Reverend Benny Johnson with Stop the Violence also shared his disappointment regarding Sunday's church robbery. "The house of prayer is a place of worship where you praise, glorify, and magnify the name of Jesus Christ, but we have individuals going around robbing a church."
Reverend Elmo Johnson says he and his congregation will meet again this Sunday to pray and thank God they're all ok, and those responsible can't hurt them again. "Even though this took place, God had His hand on us, because it could have been much worse."
Church leaders are calling for more police presence in neighborhoods, but Little Rock police are confident with the arrest of these three suspects, crime at least in the neighborhood where the church is located will subside.
Police say the suspects are not connected to the church, they just lived nearby, but church members say maybe the suspects should have attended services and this might not have happened.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)