An ex-con who has two previous convictions for having stolen property is back in jail Monday night, accused of stealing a van from a church in Sapulpa.
Monday night, Catoosa Police arrested 22-year-old Gage Dickenson. They said he still had the keys to the van in his pocket.
Sapulpa Police said two vans were taken from the First Christian Church parking lot early Sunday morning. They say someone also broke into the church.
Officers say both vans have been recovered, but they're still searching for some of the other missing items.
"I mean we would've helped this individual or whoever they were in any way that we could've. It's just bad that it had to go like this,” said First Christian Church Senior Minister, Lance Peterson.
Peterson said they first noticed a few laptops and tablets were missing on Sunday, then they discovered several sets of keys were gone.
"We came out here and noticed two of our vans had been taken,” said Peterson.
Peterson said the church youth groups use the vans to take trips and before the pandemic, the church used them to pick members up who couldn't get to services on their own.
He said the tablets were being used by elderly members of their congregation who don't have internet and can’t access their live virtual services.
"We know that God can restore all things, so we're not shaken by it,” said Peterson. “It's unfortunate, but we know that God has better things in store."
Sapulpa Police said the first van was recovered hours after it was taken, right down the street.
"We began looking around and found one of their vans at a church that’s in the same block as them," said Sapulpa Police Captain Glenn Coffey.
The second van was recovered Monday afternoon in Catoosa.
Catoosa Police officers said Gage Dickenson told witnesses he worked for the church and that's why he had the van. Dickenson was taken into custody and still had the keys in his pocket, but officers said the tablets, laptops and keys to the other vans are still missing.
Peterson said the items can be replaced, so instead they're praying for whoever took them.
"We prayed for them, that maybe this would be a step where they could change their life and find something meaningful and not be doing the stuff they were doing,” said Peterson.
Records show Dickenson has convictions in both Creek and Tulsa counties that include having stolen property, running from police and taking drugs into a jail.
If you know where the church’s other stolen items might be, call 918-224-3862.