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Machine Gun Preacher's home, business, warehouse raided by feds
By: Maria Miller
REELS CORNER, Pa. -- He's a man who has been in the headlines recently, not because of wrongdoing, but because of an international social justice award he received for his work, helping children in impoverished third world countries.
But now Sam Childers, better known as "the Machine Gun Preacher," is the target of a federal investigation after FBI and IRS agents raided his home, business and donation warehouse in Somerset County earlier this week.
Childers wasnt there because he's currently in Africa doing work, but he talked with 6 News over the phone Friday.
As usual, the federal government is keeping quiet about the case, but Childers himself said the feds are interrupting his work and in turn hurting hundreds of children who lack the resources to help themselves. He said he knows what the feds are looking for but said they're not going to find it.
Computers were taken and their wires left hanging. Boxes of donations were torn apart. That's what Childers said federal investigators left behind Wednesday night.
"They went into a container that was packed and ready to come to the orphanage and totally destroyed it," Childers said. "I mean, destroyed it, and what's so sad is that it was all childrens clothes."
Childers said the feds haven't given a reason for their visit but he said it stems from the actions of his former son-in-law, a man he said has stolen thousands of dollars from his nonprofit, Angels of East Africa, in the past.
"This guy is in a lot of problems so what he's been doing is he's been telling the FBI that I'm smuggling guns and that I'm misusing funds," Childers said. "To start with, it's all lies and I'm telling everyone we've got nothing to hide."
Childers' friends and family who were there during the raid said all they could do was stand back and watch while their hard work for the children of Africa was torn apart.
"They're hurting the kids. This stuff is sent from all over the world and people's hearts and they just come in and just treat it like it's garbage," said Kim Growden, a member of Childer's church. "When you do God's work you have to you know, I'll just start all over. That's all I can do. It's not for me or for us, it's for the kids."
"I dont have anything to hide, I mean, me smuggling guns? Come on, be for real," Childers said. "What of guns am I going to smuggle over here for a war? A deer rifle? That's stupid."
"When you're trying to do good, people always come against you," said Chris Schanter, another member of Childer's church. "I believe it's instilled in [Sam's] blood now that he's going to come back and say, 'well, we're going keep going 'let this defeat us, we'd lose. We'd let them win."