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TMCNet:  Churchgoers robbed at gunpoint in East St. Louis

[January 28, 2013]

Churchgoers robbed at gunpoint in East St. Louis

Jan 28, 2013 (St. Louis Post-Dispatch - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- EAST ST. LOUIS -- About 100 people were attending a musical event at a small church here when several masked gunmen burst into the church and demanded money and valuables, members and attendees said Monday.

The attendees, who did not give their names for fear of retaliation, said at least three robbers ordered people at the music event to the floor and took cash from them in the holdup about 5:30 p.m. Sunday at IRA Grove Free Will Baptist Church, 1701 Belmont Avenue.

The gunmen were wearing bandanas over their faces, according to police and witnesses. Witnesses did not get a good look at the robbers, and police said they didn't have a good description to provide.

The church was hosting a musical event that involved several other area churches.

On Monday morning, East St. Louis Police Chief Michael Floore said no arrests had been made and police don't have suspects. He said police are searching for possible surveillance footage from businesses in the area, around State Street and 17th Avenue, that could help identify the robbers or detail how they left the scene.

Floore said he did not know how many people were robbed or everything that was taken.

A message left for the church's pastor had not been returned early Monday afternoon.

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___ (c)2013 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Visit the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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