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Pastor Accused of Robbing Parishioner's Home of Luxury Goods

Pastor Sandy McGriff. Photo Courtesy - ABC News/WFAA-TV(DALLAS) -- A Dallas pastor who is accused of climbing through a window to steal fur coats and purses from her parishioner's home on Christmas Eve claims she was just trying to protect the property from burglars.

Sandy McGriff, 52, was apprehended by Dallas police in the afternoon on Christmas Eve when she was spotted stuffing items belonging to Serita Agnew, a parishioner at the The Church of the Living God where McGriff is the pastor.

McGriff told ABC’s Dallas affiliate WFAA that she was checking on Agnew's house when she caught two men breaking in. Asked why she didn't just call the police rather than climbing through the window, McGriff told WFAA, "My mistake, I should have."

But police say that McGriff was not only caught with $12,000 worth of Agnew's possessions, but also gave a different name at the time of her arrest, which she then tried to evade. According to public records, McGriff has an extensive criminal record that includes theft and a prostitution conviction from the 1970s,

"She was caught by patrol officers breaking into a residence and a neighbor had called and said that there was a suspicious vehicle in Agnew's driveway," said Dallas Police Public Information Officer Kevin Janse. "When officers pulled up [McGriff] was walking out the back door with property in her hands."

"McGriff said the homeowner, who was a friend of hers, allowed her to go inside to get the property, but when officers contacted the homeowner she said she had not permitted anyone to enter her home," he said.

McGriff is charged with burglary and resisting arrest and transport, according to Janse -- charges that could put her in prison for as many as 20 years, if convicted.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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