Someone is confusing cars with the collection plate at Nashville's largest churches.
At several places of worship in Green Hills, Belle Meade and west Nashville, thieves have been breaking into cars and taking whatever they find.
Crooks have gotten away with cell phones, prescription drugs, wallets and purses that total thousands of dollars.
"You have a large amount of cars in a small area at one time," said Metro Police Cmdr. Marlene Pardue.
Like clockwork, every Sunday morning and Wednesday night for the past several weeks, church parking lots have become the perfect target for thieves.
"Loose change, $1 or $2. They will break a car window for a couple dollars," Pardue said.
A few churches have security, but many of them don't.
"It's like parking at the police department, you would think nothing would be broken into but it's not," Pardue said.
Officers are reminding churches to have their visitors park smart by locking their doors and not leaving anything valuable in plain sight from the outside.
"It's best if you can take it with you or put it in the trunk before you get to a location," Pardue said. "You don't want to put the purse in the trunk while there are people in the parking lot watching you. You want to have it hidden before anybody has the opportunity to know it's in your car."
Police will host a meeting with west Nashville church leaders to discuss the rise in this type of crime and talk about ways to prevent it. The meeting is set for April 24 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the West Precinct on Charlotte Avenue.
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