BUFFALO, N.Y. – A deadline came and went for vandals who broke into a local church to turn themselves in.
Pastor Darius Pridgen of True Bethel Baptist Church withheld surveillance video of the break-in from police until now.
Pridgen tried to give a fair chance for the men who broke into his church to come forward without police involvement, but after they failed to do so, he handed over the video to Buffalo police and is now also seeking help from the public.
"We showed a portion of the church video yesterday in one of our services, some people think that they recognize the young men from the immediate neighborhood, which I expected,” Pridgen said. “And so there has been some conversation, I won't say what or how far because I want to now allow the Buffalo Police to be able to do their job.”
Pridgen and Buffalo Police shared photos from the surveillance video, which show the two men inside the church before they ran off.
Pridgen says he's disappointed it came to this, because by offering the chance for the vandals to fess up, he was hoping to keep them out of jail.
"I bury a third, if not half, of the homicide victims at that church, so I have seen young men who have walked paths to church and then been laid out in front of the church,” he said. “And so what may seem like something simple can grow if it's not caught early into something much worse, so it was disappointing to have to turn those tapes over.”
Still, he hasn't given up.
“It's never too late to get in touch with me,” Pridgen said.
Even though police are involved now, he does still hope to play a part in what happens to these men because he wants to try and help them.
As for the damage to the church, at least one window is still broken and boarded up.