A NUMBER of items ‘of immense personal value’ have been stolen from a church in Irvinestown by thieves armed with a hatchet.
A 50” LG TV, with an estimated value of £1,200, and two silver communion plates were stolen from the Irvinestown Presbyterian Church on Mill Street.
The silver communion plates had been presented to the church by a family of a deceased member of the congregation, while the TV was used to screen religious ceremonies.
The incident occurred sometime between noon on Sunday and 10am on Monday. The alarm was raised by a member of the congregation who arrived at the church to drop off a musical instrument and realised the church had been opened.
Speaking to the Herald, Minister of Irvinestown Presbyterian Church Rev Gunther Andrich said it was shocking that the thieves appeared to have been armed with a hatchet.
“The thefts have made us feel violated. I have also been told that a hatchet was left behind so it is very concerning that someone would come into a church premises with a hatchet. It gives us a sense of the changes taking place in our society – many people believe that God is alive and can see everything they do, but others can walk into a place of worship armed with a hatchet and do whatever they want to do.”
Rev Andrich said the communion plates were of ‘enormous value’ to the church and may have been targeted because they were not marked or engraved.
Appealing for witnesses, Rev Andrich said, “It is unclear when exactly the incident happened, but if anyone was walking past the church and saw something unusual, please contact the police.
“This could have been someone from outside of Irvinestown as it is very unusual for a small country town to see something like this. Our first response is to pray for the thieves and that they will be sensible and return the items and make full restitution.”
If anyone has any information, can contact police on 101, or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Posted: 9:02 am May 23, 2019