msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 12/28/2010 5:41:35 AM ET 2010-12-28T10:41:35

A Texas pastor caught by police with a laptop and fur coats said she was protecting the valuables, not stealing them from the home of a parishioner.

Sandy McGriff, cofounder of the Church of the Living God, told The Dallas Morning News on Monday that she "used poor judgment" when she entered a church member's home through a broken window and removed valuable property.

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McGriff faces charges of burglary of habitation and resisting arrest. She posted a $26,000 bond Saturday and was released from the Dallas County Jail.

The church member, Serita Agnew, told Dallas TV station WFAA: "I'm still having a hard time ... I don't know what it was about."

Agnew told WFAA that McGriff called her before the alleged break-in. A short time later, a neighbor called police, who found McGriff carrying two fur coats out of the home.

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McGriff claimed she saw two men on the side of the home and decided to check it out. That's when she said she found the broken window. The pastor told WFAA that she plans to plead not guilty to the charge.

'Everyone has a past'
As for items taken from the home, Agnew told WFAA, "It's not like she needed them; she didn't need them, she has fabulous things."

Citing records, WFAA reported that McGriff has a long rap sheet and has used several aliases — including Kathy Robinson, the name under which police booked her. McGriff conceded to WFAA that the name is a fake.

"Everyone has a past," McGriff told WFAA. "I am a giver, not a taker. I'm not a burglar."

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The TV station report also noted that McGriff admitted to past abuse of pain medications, but said she has been clean for more than two decades.

"She seems to have this connection with God; she seems to be a woman of God," Agnew told WFAA. "I made a decision not to let it shake my faith."

McGriff has recently conducted services in a chapel housed in her husband's furniture store, the WFAA report said. She told the station that she presided over a Sunday service hours after leaving jail.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Video: Pastor accused of stealing from parishioner

  1. Closed captioning of: Pastor accused of stealing from parishioner

    >>> a dallas pastor pulls a grinch. she was arrested for breaking into her parishioner's home and stealing her stuff on christmas eve , but pastor mcgriff on church of the living god told the morning news she was just protecting her friend's stuff.

    >> when i walked around her house, i saw that the window was broke. my mistake was i did not call 911, and i went through the window.

    >> well, she says she collected the homeowner's laptop, the fur coats , the designer bags to protect them from any would-be burglar. she was arrested because a neighbor called police to report the pastor breaking the window and crawling inside. copps reportedly found her on her second trip back from the woman's house. again, all of

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