Thieves steal pews, altar from two Chesterfield churches

Thieves steal pews, altar from two Chesterfield churches
Published: Oct. 20, 2014 at 7:12 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 30, 2014 at 7:12 PM EDT
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CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - An altar, several pews, a bishop's char and a candle holder were all stolen from two Chesterfield churches in the past month. Police say the crimes amount to about $6,000 in stolen items.

Police are searching for the thieves and trying to determine whether the two cases are related.

Thieves hit St. Barnabas Episcopal Church on Iron Bridge Road on September 28 and stole several items, including the bishop's chair and several church pews, according to Chesterfield Police.

"It was the sense of violation that you know, is so difficult," Father Ray Nelson of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church said of the crime, also pointing out it had to be more than one person, because the items were so heavy.

Five days later someone entered the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer on Winterfield Road and stole several pieces of the church's furniture, including an altar and a candle holder, according to church officials.

There, police say someone stole a pew and candle holder. Also, a hand embroidered kneeler cushion.

"It is literally an irreplaceable object," said Youth Director Jay Phillippi, with Episcopal Church of the Redeemer. The cushion was hand-stitched by a founding member of the church.

As you might imagine, this was the reaction by church leaders: 

"We'd like the things back!" said Nelson. "And if you can believe it, we pray for you."

"And if they need a place to pray, we would be happy to offer them whatever facility they may need!" added Phillippi.

Police aren't sure why someone would try to steal the items. There is not an obvious market for the large church furniture.

Chesterfield detectives are asking for the public's help to find the items and identify the suspects. They ask anyone with information to call Crime Solvers at (804) 748-0660. 

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