Local News

Two Area Churches Want Their Bells Back

Posted July 9, 2000

— Two Triangle area churches are wondering why someone would want to steal their bells.

The latest theft was from the Beulah Christian Church in Zebulon. A church member went to ring the century-old bell Saturday afternoon, and it was gone.

Someone apparently stole the bell from the cement in which it was anchored. The church is offering a $200 reward for its return.

The Zebulon theft was the second church bell reported missing in this week.

A 1,500-pound Franklin County church bell was swiped this weekend. The bell is about 100 years old.

An empty housing is all that is left. The housing had been built 20 years ago, when the bell was removed from the church steeple.

The congregation of Mitchener's Grove Baptist Church was in shock Sunday when they heard that the bell was gone.

Church leaders believe it was probably taken overnight Friday. They speculate that two or three men, maybe more, would have been needed to move it.

Deacon Preston Green is in his mid-50s and he remembers the bell from his childhood and how it was rung to bring everyone back for second service. "I feel kind of hurt myself," he said. "It's a real heartbreaker for us that someone stole it."

The Rev. Melvin Jackson says he feels that part of the body of the church is missing, as well as a long history.

Jackson says the bell was an antique type that can not be found today.

He and other church elders say they are not interested in punishment; they leave that up to the law. They just want their bell back.

Investigators are not sure if the two incidents are related. They say the thieves may be trying to pawn the bells at antique markets or use them for scrap metal.

Franklin County Sheriff Robert Redmond says that there are no suspects in the Mitchener's Grove theft.

Anyone with information on the bell thefts are asked to call the Wake County Sheriff's Office at919-856-6911or the Franklin County Sheriff's Office at919-496-2511. ,Brian Shrader

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