Thieves target two churches
Unfortunately, that invitation to pray was preyed upon last week when two of Blowing Rock’s oldest churches were the scenes of separate crimes.
Sometime between the worship services that ended at 12:15 p.m. on Sunday, July 27, and preparation for services on Wednesday, Aug. 1, a person or persons stole two sterling silver chalices from their cloth coverings at St. Mary of the Hills Episcopal Church on Main Street.
According to a report by Blowing Rock Police Officer Lance Dotson, a volunteer worker at St. Mary’s was setting up the worship hall during the afternoon prior to the Wednesday evening services when he discovered that the chalices were missing. He found the bags that normally hold the chalices, but no chalices.
There is no word yet on the monetary value of the chalices.
On Monday, July 30, Blowing Rock Police responded to a call about a possible breaking and entering at Rumple Memorial Presbyterian Church, across Main Street from St. Mary’s.
Suspects broke into one of the church’s interior offices and pried open a safe, creating $100 worth of damage to a door and $500 worth of damage to the safe, according to BRPD reports filed by responding Officer Deyton Turpin.
In Turpin’s report, officials from Rumple Memorial say that the office that was broken into was last secured on Saturday, July 28.
“Officer Turpin spoke with Michael Capristo, a church member at Rumple Memorial,” said BRPD Detective Angel Mahaffey. “Capristo stated that he did not believe there was anything in the safe and that the church had plans to buy a new one because no one could remember the combination to the one that they had.”
According to Mahaffey, investigators believe that the same person or persons is responsible for both crimes.
Blowing Rock Police and the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Department teamed up to secure a Bobcat skid steer, a piece of specialized construction equipment, that was reported stolen from a construction site on June 7.
The Bobcat was valued at $10,000.
“I initially looked into this with the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Department,” said Mahaffey. “Then on Thursday, Aug. 2, I received a call from Caldwell’s Troy Reynolds. Caldwell had located the Bobcat and a man has been charged with possessing stolen goods. Caldwell Detective Chris Martin and his partner Shelly Hartley have recovered the Bobcat. Now it’s a matter of working backward to find the individual who initially stole it.”
Mahaffey said that someone attending the Symphony by the Lake at Chetola event on July 27 found a lady’s gold bracelet and subsequently turned it into the BRPD. The rightful owner has yet to contact the BRPD and claim it. It has a unique design that must be described to the police before they will return it to its owner.
“I am always amazed at how many people turn valuables into the police department when somebody leaves a purse or a camera on a park bench, or something like that,” Mahaffey said. “That kind of honesty is just a testament to the ‘hometown’ feel of Blowing Rock.”