This building is well protected with its video surveillance system… unless the burglars decide to enter through the roof… or simply walk by the broken camera…
The inside may be destroyed but hundreds gathered outside the St. John Regular Baptist Association Tabernacle Sunday evening for prayer, worship and healing.
“By praying and then doing something about it. Doing something about it, we have to do it in prayer and in love,” said St. John’s Albert Black from the podium at the candlelight service.
After services last Sunday, vandals broke glass, wrote obscenities on the walls, overturned pianos and even drew upside down crosses on the doors.
“I saw it on the news and when I came here I feel like it’s somebody in my family passed away,” said Cynthia Pennick.
Dava Watson and her family attend another church but they came to show their support.
“We’re all in the same family, we’re all brothers and sisters in Christ and so we wanted to be here together to show our love for them,” Watson said.
Soon, St. John may be able to prevent this sort of thing from ever happening again. Dyezz Surveillance has offered them a state of the art surveillance system — a $5,000 value free of charge.
Casey Ellison with Dyezz Surveillance says the system includes cameras and alarms. Ellison said they also put one in for the Austin Zoo recently after they were burglarized — that too was on the house.
“Because we all live and work in the community, in order for Dyezz to be a local company like we are, we feel like we need to give back. And whenever we can help, then we will,” Ellison said.
As candles were lit Sunday night and prayers were being lifted up, many of those prayers were for those responsible for the damage.
“Absolutely. Absolutely because we worship a God of forgiveness and so we have to get past this and pray over them and pray that somebody reaches into their lives as well and shows them a better path,” Watson said.
APD confirms with us that 2 juveniles were arrested Saturday night on the premises after they received a criminal trespass call.
St. John moderator Dr. G.V. Clark tells us their volunteer security guard caught the 2 sleeping in the building — he’s not sure if they vandalized the building again or if they were the ones responsible for the vandalism in the first place.
“Well they were in the wrong place. They shouldn’t have been in this place, this is private property. And they had to know that it had been vandalized,” Clark said.
If you know who may be responsible for the vandalism, call Austin Police.
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AUSTIN — KVUE has learned that a church vandalism case from this weekend will be handed over to the Austin Police Department’s Gang Unit.
An APD lieutenant confirmed with KVUE Wednesday that detectives believe members of three gangs worked together to demolish and destroy the inside of St. John Tabernacle on Blessing Avenue.
APD Gang Unit taking over church vandalism investigation KVUE
The break-in and vandalism is believed to have happened sometime between Sunday night and Monday morning.
“It has been devastating. We’ve been heartbroken, but we have hope. Our hope and our trust is in God, and we know that God will work these things out,” said Pastor Emmanuel Limuel.
Austin company Dyezz Surveillance Security is now donating a full surveillance and alarm system to St. John Tabernacle.
“Really the lesson here is never underestimate your surroundings. No matter how good or how bad the area is you live in, always be wary of the things going on around you and the things that you don’t think about. That’s what ends up getting you in the end,” said Casey Ellison, vice president of Dyezz Surveillance.
The church is currently trying to organize a community-wide cleanup day.
“We’re so grateful for the love and the concern that the community has given us, and we certainly do appreciate that. We certainly say thank you to the community,” said Pastor Limuel.
A prayer vigil is planned on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at St. John Tabernacle, 7501 Blessing Avenue. The community is invited.
Halloween Safety Tips
Halloween is an exciting time of year for kids, and to help ensure they have a safe holiday, here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Feel free to excerpt these tips or use them in their entirety for any print or broadcast story, with acknowledgment of source.
ALL DRESSED UP:
- Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
- Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
- Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives. Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes.
- When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories look for and purchase those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant.
- If a sword, cane, or stick is a part of your child’s costume, make sure it is not sharp or too long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if he stumbles or trips.
- Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
- Do not use decorative contact lenses without an eye examination and a prescription from an eye care professional. While the packaging on decorative lenses will often make claims such as “one size fits all,” or “no need to see an eye specialist,” obtaining decorative contact lenses without a prescription is both dangerous and illegal. This can cause pain, inflammation, and serious eye disorders and infections, which may lead to permanent vision loss.
- Teach children how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they have an emergency or become lost.
CARVING A NICHE:
- Small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers. Then parents can do the cutting.
- Consider using a flashlight or glow stick instead of a candle to light your pumpkin. If you do use a candle, a votive candle is safest.
- Candlelit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects, and should never be left unattended.
HOME SAFE HOME:
- To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, parents should remove from the porch and front yard anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.
- Parents should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
- Wet leaves or snow should be swept from sidewalks and steps.
- Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.
ON THE TRICK-OR-TREAT TRAIL:
- A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.
- If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home.
- Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.
- Because pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween, remind Trick-or-Treaters.
- Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.
- Remember reflective tape for costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
- Carry a cellphone for quick communication.
- Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
- If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.
- Never cut across yards or use alleys.
- Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks (as recognized by local custom). Never cross between parked cars or out driveways.
- Don’t assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing Trick-or-Treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn’t mean others will!
- Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.
- A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats.
- Consider purchasing non-food treats for those who visit your home, such as coloring books or pens and pencils.
- Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.
- Try to ration treats for the days following Halloween.
©2013 American Academy of Pediatrics
New technology could give thieves key to your door, literally
Jeff Rossen and Charlie McLravy TODAY
Sep. 22, 2014 at 7:47 AM ET
For decades, if you wanted your keys copied, you went to a hardware store or key shop in person. The only way a thief could get your keys was to physically steal them.
Not anymore. Now cutting edge technology potentially allows crooks to open any door with no problem.
The game changer is a new website called keysduplicated.com: All you have to do is snap a clear photo of any house key with your smartphone and upload it to the site. Sophisticated software analyzes the grooves of the key down to the tiniest millimeter, all from the photo. Then a machine drills out the key’s teeth, perfectly matching the key in the picture.
The key is mailed right to you. And it’s cheap: only $6 a key, and no ID verification.
Police departments are worried that thieves will take advantage by snapping stealth photos of your keys in public, then show up at your doorstep with your key, unlock your door with ease, and walk right in.
You wouldn’t even know you’d been had: You’d still have your key, and wouldn’t know that someone had taken a photo of it. “Nope, not until something bad happened to you,” agreed Det. Sgt. Richard Harasym of the Nassau County Police Department outside New York City.
To see if the technology really works, the Rossen Reports team snapped a quick photo of Jeff Rossen’s house key lying on a table, uploaded it to keysduplicated.com, and supplied an address. A couple of days later, duplicates of Rossen’s key arrived at the address. And they opened the door to Rossen’s home successfully.
The Rossen team spoke with Ali Rahimi, CEO of Keys Duplicated, who did not deny the possibility that bad guys could utilize the website’s technology.
“You know there’s no doubt that this could be used by somebody to copy somebody else’s key; I just don’t think it’s very likely to happen,” Rahimi said. “If it ever happens, it’s going to be a jilted ex-lover or disgruntled coworker — people who have other ways of breaking into your house.”
Rahimi’s company is still new, and so far there are no reported cases of theft related to it. Rahimi says there’s a paper trail when customers supply their credit card information. “Security is our top priority, so we’re constantly improving it,” he said. “It’s a never-ending game of providing a safer and safer service. I’d say we’re on it.”
But one homeowner we spoke to found that of little comfort: “It’s really scary. Someone could get into your house at any time. That’s the scariest thing I can think of.”
Keys Duplicated says they require a valid credit card number, email address and mailing address before they’ll ship out any key, but admit they don’t verify that its your key or even your credit card. They say they won’t copy car keys or high-security patented keys, and won’t accept pictures of keys that are blurry or taken from too far away.
Police recommend you treat your keys like you would your driver’s license or a credit card: Don’t leave them lying around or let anyone you don’t trust handle them.
Insuring your alarm and surveillance equipment are working properly is obvious and essential means of protecting your home, family and friends through the holiday season; but here are three more tips from our VP of Operations Casey Ellison: