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Arrested men may be responsible for church burglary spree, police say

WICHITA — Alert neighbors spotted a man acting suspiciously outside Westlink Church of Christ in west Wichita early Tuesday morning. Within a short time, three men were under arrest _ and police think they have thwarted a crime spree.

Authorities were alerted at about 3 a.m. Tuesday by people who live near the church at 10025 W. Central, police said.

They reported a man walking around a fence next to the church, jumping onto the fence and then removing items from a shed, police said.

They then gave a detailed description of the vehicle the suspect left in, and officers responding to the call spotted it a short time later.

After pulling the car over, the officers found property that was later confirmed to have come from Westlink.

A short time later, two more men were arrested in the neighborhood.

"More importantly, we believe, based on everything we recovered, these had been burglars that had been hitting churches along the area," Lt. Doug Nolte said.

Burglaries were also reported at Bethel Life Center, 3777 S. Meridian, and Asbury United Methodist Church's west campus, 11910 W. Pawnee.

Melissa Baier, an administrative assistant at Bethel Life Center, said police told her that the burglaries may have occurred the same night.

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