Cash stolen from Maricopa mosque during break-in

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Masjid Bilal ibn Rabah in Maricopa targeted by a thief Masjid Bilal ibn Rabah in Maricopa targeted by a thief
Mosque front doors damaged in break-in Mosque front doors damaged in break-in

A mosque in the city of Maricopa became the target for a thief this week.

Sometime after 10 p.m. on Thursday, someone broke into the Masjid Bilal ibn Rabah, first prying at the doors with a crowbar.

Not having any luck, the suspect broke into the lock box, obtaining a spare key. With that, he was able to open the door.

Inside, the thief was caught on security camera stealing money from a donation box, although no one is sure how much was in it.

“if the person needed any help, the community in need, as much as we can we take our part, but it wasn’t necessary to break in that way,” said Masjid Chairman Shah Sahak.

Mosque leaders called police and have since changed all the locks.

“Everybody’s concerned because we have also Sunday school here, and kids and ladies come here for worship and praying,” said Sahak.

Investigators aren't sure if the crime was motivated by hate. 

“My feeling is, we’ve lived in this community for a long time, we have very good neighbors and we are involved with the community; we haven’t seen any hate crime so far,” said Sahak. “If they have any concern and any questions, they can come here and talk to us, face to face.”

Just over two weeks ago, someone broke into the Islamic center of Tucson and destroyed dozens of copies of the Quran.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations says nationwide, 2016 was the worst year on record for incidents against mosques.

"It's all totally out of ignorance, totally out of fear of the others that they don't know,” said Ahmad Al-Akoum, Islamic Community Center of Tempe  Interfaith Outreach Director.

In an attempt to get out in front of that, the Islamic Community Center of Tempe opened up its doors to the community Saturday, giving tours and answering questions.

"Wo we made a conscious effort to try and have the community to come inside and see what Muslims are and what they believe in,” said Al-Akoum.

Something they plan to do four times a year in light of so many recent crimes.

 “I wanted to know how they felt on those things and what the real truth is from a person that practices the religion vs what we see on TV and we make an assumption about,” said Emily Parker, who came out to the open house.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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Lauren ReimerLauren Reimer joined the 3TV/CBS 5 family in June 2016. She is originally from Racine, WI but is no stranger to our heat.

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Lauren Reimer

She previously worked for KVOA in Tucson, covering topics that matter to Arizonans including the monsoon, wildfires and border issues. During the child migrant crisis of 2014, Reimer was one of only a handful of journalists given access to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility in Nogales, where hundreds of unaccompanied children were being held after crossing into the U.S. from Central America. Before that, Reimer worked at WREX in Rockford, IL. Lauren is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and still visits home often. When not chasing news stories, Reimer loves to explore, enjoying everything from trying new adventurous foods to visiting state and national parks or local places of historical significance.

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