NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Someone broke into a Newport news church, not once, but twice in the past week. Now, the congregation is trying to come together to pray for those committing these crimes.

Triumph Christian Center Pastor, Dr. Reginald Dawkins, says this all started on July 5 when vandals spray-painted graffiti on the side of the church.

Then on July 14 and 17, suspects got inside the church through two different windows. They didn’t steal anything the first time, but the second time they got away with some property from the church.

Newport News Police is investigating both break-ins, but church leaders say instead of breaking in through the windows, they wish the suspects would just come through the front door.

“Without hope, people do stuff like this,” said Triumph Christian Center Pastor, Dr. Reginald Dawkins.

Pastor Dawkins came to the church Saturday night and found the front door left open. He says he came in and realized the burglars took the air conditioner out of his office window to get inside.

Dawkins says the thieves took a computer and several church credit cards. He says the church has a video surveillance system, but the cameras weren’t recording. He says the system was struck by lightning and they’re having problems with the hard drive.

He says the cards were later used to purchase food, something he would’ve given them, had they knocked on the door.

“I can’t tell you how many people have knocked on that door during the week and have asked for bus money, food and clothes and we have given it to them,” said Pastor Dawkins.

Dawkins says he’s saddened about the break-ins, but not surprised because of the rise in crime they’re seeing across the community and across the country.

“I’m not exempt,” said Dawkins. “We don’t get exempt card to say we’re gonna skip Triumph and do everything else around.”

Pastor Dawkins says, ironically, the messages he’s been preaching from the pulpit this month are about forgiveness. He believes the break-ins are the Lord’s way of bringing it home.

“I forgive,” said Dawkins. “Let’s just move on, but I forgive and I’m gonna try to give the solution and the solution is, of course, as a pastor, is to offer Christ, and not only offer Christ, but how can we help you to become more socially involved, how can we help you to get off the ash piles of life?”

If you know anything that could help police solve these break-ins, call 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.