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Story of theft from church has 'Wonderful' ending

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
January 7, 2012
— Remember Jimmy Stewart in "It's a Wonderful Life?"

Remember how desperate he was when he discovered the money was missing, and how awful he felt about the money his friends and neighbors had entrusted to him?


It was like that when three bags of cash and checks went missing the Monday before Christmas, the Rev. Jeff Williams said.


No one knows how much was in the bags, but church officials estimated the entire weekend's collections at Faith Community Church, 2931 Lucerne Drive, was around $12,000, according to a police report.


It might have been more, Williams said.


The money was normally counted on Monday so two people could be present, Williams said.


But the money wasn't where it was supposed to be, in a locked room.


"It was a shock. You just keep hoping somebody's going to tell you, 'Oh, we put the offering over here,' or it got misplaced," Williams said.


Then you realize you're the victim of a theft, he said.


"We explained to the congregation what happened right away," Williams said.


And just like the townsfolk in "It's a Wonderful Life," the people of Faith Community responded Christmas weekend.


"We estimate that enough people re-gave the offering, so that pretty much it ended up that one weekend ended up what two weekends' total would have been," Williams said.


Nothing like this theft has happened in the church's 22-year history, Williams said, and he feels bad about it.


Anybody could have walked in, Williams said. Maybe the door was left unlocked; they just don't know. Congregants did notice a person in the building that nobody recognized.


"Was that the thief? I don't know," Williams said this week, still obviously upset.


"I had to tell the congregation that we were taking precautions so this kind of thing doesn't happen again," Williams said.


"You certainly pray for a person like that," the pastor said of the thief. "You wonder what kind of person would do this, but we don't know who it was. You're angry, but at the same time you need to pray that whoever did this will get their life right."



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