Church wants stolen records back, offers reward

August 11, 2003|PHIL PENDLETON

LANCASTER - Donald Estepp doesn't know who broke into Pleasant Grove Christian Church on July 28th, stealing the church's safe and causing $1,842 in damages.

But Estepp, Pleasant Grove's treasurer, will tell you the type of person he thinks committed the crime. "A person with no conscious, no morals," he said.

Garrard County Deputy Sheriff Ronald Lamb says the church on Ky. 34 was burglarized around 2 a.m. July 28, but all the thief or thieves got was a safe with historical documents and church membership records inside.

Lamb says he suspects only one person broke into the church, because the safe was dragged from the pastor's study and through the kitchen, tearing up the floor tile. "It was heavy enough, had there been more than one person, they probably would have picked it up (and carried it out)," said Lamb.


But Estepp thinks two people could have been involved because the safe was likely carried from the office to the kitchen.

He said the safe had been used to store money from Vacation Bible School, but no money was in it the night of the break-in.

"They thought money was in it," said Estepp. He said some of the children attending VBS may have learned the safe was used to store money and could have been overheard talking about it.

Lamb said the thief tried to get inside the church through the front and side doors, but eventually gained entry by throwing a brick through the kitchen window. The only thing missing from the church was the safe from the pastor's study, he said.

Pleasant Grove Christian Church was started in 1826 and the original building burned down in 1921. Estepp said the current structure is 84 to 85 years old. He said some of the records in the stolen safe show memberships dating back to 1826.

"All we want back is the books," said Estepp. "The safe doesn't mean anything. They can keep the safe. If they brought back the books at 2 a.m., they can do that if they want to," he said.

But that doesn't mean he doesn't want to see the criminals brought to justice. The church is offering a $500 reward for the arrest and conviction of those responsible. "We would like to know who did it," said Estepp. "But the main thing is getting back those books."

According to the police reports, the person or persons responsible will face felony charges of criminal mischief, theft by unlawful taking, and burglary.

Central Kentucky News Articles