MERRILLVILLE | Burglars have hit two Merrillville churches this summer.
On July 22, a burglary was reported at Protection of the Virgin Mary Orthodox Church, 8600 Grand Blvd.
According to a police report, a security bar on the church's garage was broken, a lock had been tampered and a skylight to the garage was loose.
Taken from inside the garage were two tractors, several lawn mowers, a weed trimmer, chainsaw and canopy tent, the report states.
The items stolen from the garage have a combined value around $10,500, according to the police report.
The church has installed a new lock and secured the skylight.
There are no suspects in connection to that case.
The incident at Protection of the Virgin Mary isn't the only recent crime reported at a Merrillville church.
Petruch said there was a break-in reported June 13 at SS. Peter and Paul Parish, 5885 Harrison St.
Police couldn't provide immediate details on what was taken in that incident.
Petruch referred to the incidents as "crimes of opportunity."
When it comes to security at local churches, locks may not be sufficient, Petruch said.
He thinks churches should take the same safety measures as homeowners and businesses.
"That's the way society is," Petruch said.
In addition to installing alarms inside parishes, he advises churches to place alarms in other buildings, such as sheds and garages, on church properties.
Petruch said burglaries can happen quickly, so having adequate security precautions in place is necessary.
"It only takes a few seconds to load up and they're out of there," Petruch said.