Churchgoers robbed at gunpoint inside Lawrence church

(WISH Photo)
(WISH Photo)

LAWRENCE, Ind. (WISH) — Police are investigating after several people were robbed at gunpoint inside a Lawrence church.

Police were called to Centro Cristiano Church on North Franklin Road just after 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Witnesses told officers three men with guns ordered several churchgoers to lay on the ground while items were removed from their pockets.

The men, who threatened to shoot the victims, got away with personal items and a small amount of cash, according to police.

A woman drove to the church Thursday morning and looked through the grass next to the building. She told a 24-Hour News 8 reporter she’d hoped the men who robbed Wednesday night dropped or tossed her belongings.

The woman declined a request for an interview because she doesn’t speak fluent English.

Shandi Olson and Cassandra Jackson work at a child care center next to the church.

“It’s very scary, because we have children we’re supposed to protect. It’s kind of hard to protect children when you’re worried for your own safety as well,” Olson said.

“Someone’s trying to get their blessings and you go in there and take it from them,” Jackson said.

Deputy Chief Gary Woodruff of the Lawrence Police Department said officers are asking nearby business owners to take a look at their security video.

“There are some places that should be safe sanctuaries and you’d like to think a church is one of those,” Woodruff said.

The suspects may have fled north and west around the church. Detectives are looking into whether they were captured on surveillance video.

Witnesses described all three as African-American, around 5 feet 9 inches tall and mid-20s with black pants and black hoodies.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS (8477).