Police want to catch a man posing as a pastor and stealing jewelry

Friday, August 9th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A pastor imposter tries to make several jewelry heists in Broken Arrow and Tulsa. The man presents a purchase order and business card from his church and wants the jewelry now and promises the church will pay later. Trouble is, it's all a con. And now, he's been caught on tape.

News on Six crime reporter Lori Fullbright has details. A surveillance video from a Tulsa jewelry store of a man claiming to be a pastor. The storeowners say it usually starts with a phone call. A pastor says his church wants to buy him an anniversary gift; he'll be by to pick it out and pay with a money order.

Dan Brake, at Star Jewelry in Broken Arrow told the man to come over and a short time later, the so-called pastor showed up but something about his story, didn’t quite jive. "He was a nice guy, a young man but I thought it was strange that a pastor wanted a pinkie ring and a bracelet."

The man presented a business card that said Pastor Alan Trenton and a purchase order on church letterhead, that said in part, "we'll pay it within 7 days, may God bless you and your business richly, in Jesus' name! What he didn’t have was a photo ID. "He said he'd gotten a traffic ticket and left his wallet in the police car, that was a little bit strange to me."

Brake told the man, when he got his driver's license, he could have the jewelry, the man never came back. But, he did go to another jewelry store in Tulsa, where he was caught on tape again.

He had a similar story and paperwork, even telling them he was in a rush to go pray with a church member about to have surgery. Receipts show he made off with a $400 watch and two men's rings worth $500 a piece. The man's paperwork said the church was called Word of Faith Fellowship and listed an address of 9 Saint Andrew's Circle in Broken Arrow.

We visited that address. It's not a church, it's a house and it doesn't look lived in.

Police say the same man approached at least two other stores and will keep at it, with possible variations on his theme. Tulsa Police Detective Garry Szabo with Fraud and Forgery: "That's what a classic con game is. Get you to do something that 30 minutes later, you say, that just didn't make sense."

Police say trust your instincts and don't let anyone talk you into doing something you wouldn't normally do, no matter how trustworthy they seem.

If you know who this man is, you can call Crimestoppers at 596-COPS. You don't have to give your name and you could earn a cash reward if your tip leads to an arrest.