HolyCoast: Church Pastors Catch a Thief

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Church Pastors Catch a Thief

I like this story from Bethany, OK.  I'm very familiar with this church.  I've visited it many times since 1970, my cousin is the worship director, and I sang there with my quartet in 2002.  They did a good job taking a crook off the street:
An escaped convict goes on a crime spree through the metro.

For weeks he hit hospitals and churches, but was arrested Wednesday as he walked out of the Bethany First Church of the Nazarene.


Police say they found in his possession items stolen from area hospitals and churches over the past several weeks. His downfall was messing with the wrong church.

The folks at Bethany First Church of the Nazarene first noticed someone was stealing from them a couple of weeks ago.

"Sound equipment and some different things had gone missing," said Bob Miller, the director of communications at Bethany First Church of the Nazarene.

So they checked their surveillance video and sent out the culprit's picture to everyone who works at the church.

"This youth pastor had actually put this picture as his screen saver on his computer for the past two weeks," said Miller.

It was that same pastor that noticed Andrew Smith trying to get into the church Wednesday afternoon. So he invited an unsuspecting Smith in.

"He (Smith) was saying he and his wife were looking for a place to get married," said Miller.

The pastor then took Smith upstairs, to the church offices, where a quick getaway was more difficult. And the church secretary tried to help him book his wedding while the pastor called police.

"He was very nervous, he was very nervous being here and we just kept delaying his exit as much as we can, as lovingly as we know how," said Miller.

In less than ten minutes Smith was in custody now facing charges for thefts not only at this church. But the Children's center and Integris hospital.
I took that photo the last time I was in Bethany in 2005. When I was in church insurance I had a number of thefts like this that were never solved because the churches didn't have the kind of security equipment Bethany had. Good heads-up thinking by the staff too.

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