Suspected thief due in court Wednesday, pastor forgives him

Suspected thief due in court Wednesday, pastor forgives him
Billy Fifer (Source: Shelby County Sheriff's Office)
Billy Fifer (Source: Shelby County Sheriff's Office)

(WMC) - A Memphis man accused of burglarizing several churches will go to court this week.

The Sunday morning services at New Tyler AME Church featured music, praise and members in worship, despite having several items stolen in a burglary on July 31.

According to Reverend Darrell Scott, it was one of three recent break-ins at the church.

"Music equipment, keyboard, food, some items we had in our food pantry," he said.

Church members showed WMC Action News 5 where, several days earlier, a burglar kicked in the door and stole from the pantry. On another day, a thief kicked in a window and stole several items.

Highland Heights United Methodist Church, located about one block away, was also targeted. Police say during a several week period, the Cottage Restaurant and several other businesses along Summer Avenue were also burglarized.

Billy Fifer was arrested and charged with the crimes after police say they caught him with the air conditioner taken from New Tyler church.

"Certainly we are upset about what happened but if he repents, we forgive," added Scott.

Reverend Scott says while they're relieved that someone has been arrested, as a church they are taught to forgive.

"More than that we want to see his life transform and Christ exhibited through our love for him and forgiving him, just as Christ forgives all of us," noted Scott.

And that, members say, is the Christian way.

Fifer is expected to be in court Wednesday.

Copyright 2014 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.