Long Island church thieves thwarted by parishioners

February 6, 2013 1:42:24 PM PST
Police say a group of thieves on Long Island were done in by the same church that they had just robbed.

Authorities say the three men took nearly $3,000 worth of audio equipment from the New Jerusalem Church in Uniondale, and then tried to sell it to a local store at the same time church members were inside the same store trying to replace the equipment.

Surveillance video from the store captured the entire thing. On the video, you can see one of the suspects meeting with an employee at Sam Ash Music to talk about selling all the audio equipment stacked up on a cart.

At the same time the reverend of the church is at the store trying to replace their equipment that was stolen less than 24 hours before. The suspect walks right by her.

She recognized the stuff on the cart and watched as it was rolled away

"We kept looking at the equipment saying it looks like it belongs to our church," Rev. Ada Jones of New Jerusalem Church of Christ said.

The manager says they recognized one of the guys because just the week before he had come into the store trying to sell equipment that turned out also to be stolen from another local church.

"I call 911. I say I don't know what to do here. I got a guy bringing in a bunch of gear we suspect is stolen because it's the guy from the week before who we know brought in stolen stuff," Danil Dreger of Sam Ash Music said.

A short time later the police showed up. As the suspects tried to walk out, the officers stopped them. Minutes later, they're taken away in handcuffs.

Duane Smith, Triston Thomas and Richard Norris are now being charged with burglary.

Those with the New Jerusalem Church of Christ in Uniondale say it's no coincidence. They have all their equipment back for Sunday services.

They're now installing an alarm on the door that the suspects allegedly pried open.

Reverend Ada Jones says she has plenty of good material for her sermon this Sunday.

"We are a forgiving church. We forgive anyone who does anything to us," she said.

Get Eyewitness News Delivered

Facebook | Twitter | Newsletters | Text Alerts