Samaritan returns stolen items to church

A good Samaritan has returned all the items stolen from St Paul’s Lutheran Community Church in Upper Moutere.

The church, which was broken into just over a week ago was stripped of almost everything movable inside. The haul included treasured historic items and artworks.

One of the stolen items was a painting by Gottfried Lindauer. This, along with communion plates, crosses and other religious iconography dated back to the church’s founding in the 1850s.

Pastor of St Paul’s, Andy Marr, says although they’d pinned their hopes on recovering the stolen goods, they weren’t really expecting they’d see them again.

However – just two days after the theft, almost all the items were returned in much the same condition as they’d left.

The Lindauer painting had been removed from its frame and some of the electronic gear was a little worse for wear.

Ironically, just as the good Samaritan brought the stolen goods back, Marr was working in his office to update the list of items that had been stolen.

Then he spotted a man wandering around the church grounds and went out to meet him.

“He said ‘I might have some stuff in my car that belongs to you.’ So I went out to the car and he opened the boot and there it all was – stashed in the back.”

The man told Marr he had learned where the stolen items were, although he hadn’t been involved in the burglary.

“We’re really grateful for him taking that course of action and not being afraid to have that conversation and bring things back,” Marr says.

“We’re pretty stoked at what God has worked through mysterious circumstances. We often say God works in mysterious ways, but he also works with mysterious people.”

Just one item is still missing: a wood carving by artist Graham Pizzey (pictured).

“Seeing people this morning in a lot of distress about what had taken place – it was great being able to call them and hear their joy and thankfulness at the things being returned,” Marr says.

“We just feel blessed and overjoyed and thankful that people would go out of their way to do that.”


Additional reading

News category: New Zealand.

Tags: ,