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Safety first: why one WNY church made major security changes

Posted: 6:10 PM, Jun 19, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-19 18:10:02-04

Toby Nagel is being called a hero inside EverPresent Church i n Batavia after saving a little boy from a stranger during a church service on June 2.

“I'm glad it went the way it did, and he didn't grab on to the child and make it worse,” Nagel said.

The father of two was sitting in church when he said he noticed the man enter the sanctuary with a toddler. He said he knew, almost immediately, something was wrong.

71-year-old Bruce Sattleberg was charged with second degree unlawful imprisonment.

Reporter Ali Touhey: Did it ever dawn on you that he could become aggressive and fight you for this child? Nagel: Not in the moment because you just act. My little girl was in there and um it made me even more upset that it could have been my daughter. It makes you wonder what our procedures are and what we're doing to protect our kids. It could happen anywhere.

Since then, the church has installed a panic alarm inside the nursery. With the push of a button, workers can alert the church if there's an emergency. Parents must also wear a lanyard with their picture and the child's picture on display. The purpose is to prevent a stranger from claiming a child.

“They'll have to show their lanyard to prove their child is theirs and that they are with them,” said Pastor Jason Norton.

The church has also replaced the handles on the nursery door and added a lock. It always stays locked when the nursery is in use. Four security cameras have been installed throughout the church, and the security team will be taking armed forces training specializing in a church setting. Three will be carrying concealed firearms during church services.

So far, the church has spent about $800 on the improvements. It's still trying to raise roughly $3,000 to replace a solid door for one with a window.