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Valuable bible stolen from St. John's Lutheran Church recovered

10:56 PM, Dec 26, 2012   |    comments
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ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - A south St. Louis church targeted by thieves twice in one week has finally had some good luck.

On Friday night someone broke into St. John's Lutheran Church on Morganford and stole a 150-year-old Augsburg bible.

On Wednesday, David M. Marzullo, spokesperson for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, said detectives were notified someone was trying to sell a bible to antique shops on Cherokee Street.

The bible was recovered at Hammonds Antique Store.

Around 1:45 p.m. officers received information that a person matching the description of the suspect was seen in the area of the 4100 block of Meramec Street.

Police arrested the suspect, described only as a 20-year-old male. He was wearing the same clothing as the suspect wore during the last church burglary.

Authorities believe this man may be responsible for the six church burglaries that happened between September and December.

The church has been targeted by burglars and vandals at least five times in recent months, and church members are now taking turns bringing home valuables each evening.

Normally at Hammonds, the seller is required to provide information."

"A driver's license number, the name, the date, what the item is, how much we paid them, we get them to sign it and then we take their picture and fingerprint them," says store owner Jovanka Hammond.

She says on Sunday the thief was too quick for her employee.

"He made the mistake of putting the money on the counter with the paperwork for him to fill out and he grabbed the money and ran with it," says Hammond.

The employee knew something was suspicious and called police. The day after Christmas the church's bible was returned.

"It's great the day after Christmas, it's too bad it wasn't the day before Christmas that would've been much better," says Hammond.

The Christmas season is winding down, the services are over and the pews are empty, but at St. John's they have reason to rejoice.

A local business has now decided to donate money to install an alarm system at the church.

KSDK

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