Break-ins reported at homes of 2 men seeking refuge at church

Posted: Updated:
HIGHLAND PARK -

The homes of two Indonesian immigrants who sought sanctuary at a Highland Park church have been broken into and ransacked.

As News 12 has reported, Arthur Jemmy and Harry Pangemanan have avoided detention and deportation by seeking refuge in the Reformed Church of Highland Park.

MORE ON THIS STORY: State AG expresses concerns over ICE actions

Now, they've learned their homes were both targeted in break-ins on the same night, and they say it can't be coincidental. They say they're unsure if their homes were visited by agents with ICE or if it was vandalism as part of a potential hate crime against immigrants.

The intrusion has sparked fear in the men's families. Pangemanan has two daughters, ages 11 and 15, who were both born in America. They are now afraid to go home and so for the time being they're living in the church.

Pangemanan had a message for whomever broke into his home. "I say God bless you, and thank you for the job you did to destroy the life of American children."

He adds that jewelry was stolen from his home. Jemmy says the inside of his home was "trashed."

News 12 has reached out to Immigration and Customs Enforcement to find out if they were possibly seeking to serve a warrant.

Pastor Seth Kaper-Dale, who has provided sanctuary to the men, says he spoke with Gov. Phil Murphy this morning about the break-ins. Murphy had visited the church earlier in the week.

Kaper-Dale says he's also looking at surveillance cameras to see who may have entered the church and wrote "build the wall" inside a bathroom at the church.

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