Masked man robs Monroe church at gunpoint on NYE

Masked man robs Monroe church at gunpoint on NYE


by TONY BURBECK / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @TonyWCNC

Posted on January 2, 2013 at 1:57 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 2 at 6:40 PM

Monroe church robbery

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MONROE, N.C. -- A man armed with a shotgun robbed women and children inside a Monroe church on New Year's Eve.

Investigators say so far they do not have a suspect, but hope someone knows who did it and calls Union County Crimestoppers.

The gunman got away with several hundred dollars cash, plus ID's, car keys and credit cards.

Claudia Bernal planned to ring in 2013 at her church, Iglesia De Dios Nueva Vida, on Engleside Street in Monroe.

However, praying and celebrating turned into avoiding getting shot, after the gunman man walked in the church's front door around 11 p.m. on New Year's Eve.

"He never said a word.  He just stared, taking the purses and the bags from the chairs," Bernal said through an interpreter.

Bernal says she clutched her purse and tried to get her cell phone and that's when the gunman pointed the shotgun at her.

It didn't matter that little kids were in the room with their mothers.

It didn't matter that Carolina Bernal was praying, either. She wasn't looking at the door and didn't know she'd been robbed until someone grabbed her and told her to run to the basement.

"Just heard ladies crying and scared," Carolina Bernal said through the same interpreter.

The armed robbery at a church has neighbors scared and mad.

"A heartless person that doesn't care about noboby," said Telisha Clyburn, who lives across the street.  "They don't care if anyone gets hurt.  They just want to get what they want."

"I think that's ridiculous," said neighbor April Threatt, who also lives across from the church.

For Claudia Bernal, having a gun pointed at her head inside her church is something she can't stop thinking about.

You can see the pain in her eyes.

"She says she's really scared now, disappointed in how she's not even secure in the house of God," the interpreter said.

The church pastor says he plans to change the locks and possibly install a video surveillance system.