A small Salina church got a big surprise, first, when burglars stripped it of practically everything inside, then again a week later, when police brought it all back. Officers arrested two suspects and are looking for a third.
The News on 6's Heather Lewin traveled to Mayes County.
Salina Police Chief Jason Treat: â€œEverything from stereo, equipment, to VCRs, computer systems. Stealing from a church, it's pretty sad." Salina Police arrested 18-year old Joseph Snell and a 17-year old Salina girl. Investigators say they found the stolen goods at Snell's home, along with a meth lab.
Thanks to a tip and the teamwork between Mayes County Sheriffâ€™s deputies and Salina Police, officers loaded up $10,000 worth of stolen items and took them back to their rightful owners.
Lorraine Holman with Lakeview Baptist Church: "We are excited to have it all back, we are very thankful." Lorraine Holman thought it was all gone for good. It happened on Halloween and she says the burglars pried their way in with a crowbar, stole a key and came back again the next night.
Burglaries are pretty unusual in the small town of Salina. Police say these thieves took everything they could get their hands on, even one church member's gift-wrapped box of chocolates. Jason Treat: "They unwrapped it and took the chocolate candy from the box."
Luckily the losses weren't more serious; a computer holding the church's financial records was recovered. Holman says looking through the returned items is kind of like Christmas. Jason Treat: "We took this case kinda personal. This really affected more than just one person or a couple, it affected the whole church and everybody in the church." Lorraine Holman: "It's very sad, when someone would break into the Lord's house."
There is one item that wasn't returned, that is greatly missed, the pastor's autographed picture of football great Billy Sims.