Local News

Sampson County Deputies May Have Solved Case Of Missing Church Bells

Posted July 20, 2000

— The bells may soon be ringing again at two local churches.

Someone stole a 1,500 pound bell from the Mitcheners Grove Baptist Church in Franklin County July 7. The next day, the bell at Beulah Christian Church in Wake County was discovered missing.

Friday, a farm worker spotted the two bells stolen from the churches along a rural road near Sampson County.

"He relayed the information about where he found the bells, and we then proceeded to send a deputy to the area and located the bells," says Capt. Gerald Tadlock of the Sampson County Sheriff Department.

The bells are sitting in a warehouse until someone can positively identify them. The mounts that the bells use to rest on the pedestal are still missing.

Authorities believe the two bells were ditched by the suspects after word of the thefts got out.

"I just have a feeling that maybe they figured that it could have been spotted," Tadlock says. "So in the early part of the morning, they just decided to dump the bells to get rid of them."

Police would still like to find out who stole the bells and why. However, George Nichols, deacon at Beulah Baptist Church, is thinking forgiveness for the suspects.

"Most of all, they need to get their heart right and then they would not have to worry about taking the bells," Nichols says.

Franklin County investigators plan to travel to Sampson County over the weekend to make the identifications.

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