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UPDATE: Neenah man arrested for Menasha church theft

Published: May. 5, 2021 at 6:29 AM CDT|Updated: May. 6, 2021 at 2:43 PM CDT
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MENASHA, Wis. (WBAY) - Menasha police say a Neenah man is in custody for a theft at St. Thomas Church.

Police say they acted on a tip when they went to a home where the suspect was staying and recovered some items related to the burglary.

The man is in the Winnebago County Jail on a probation hold. Police expect he’ll be charged with possession of stolen property.

The theft was discovered Tuesday morning. We’re told about $5,500 worth of gift cards, or scrip, was stolen; the cards are sold to raise money for the church. A safe containing silver items and a small amount of cash was also taken. Police found the safe nearby.

ORIGINAL REPORT

MENASHA, Wis. (WBAY) - Menasha Police spent Wednesday recovering evidence after a robbery was discovered at St. Thomas Church Tuesday morning. It is located at 226 Washington St.

“Came in my usual route, turned a corner, and the office door was open and there was glass everywhere,” said Rev. Ralph Osborne.

Reverend Ralph Osborne says from there gift cards worth around $5,500 and a small amount of cash were taken from the office, and an entire safe containing silver items was taken from another room.

Officers collected that safe Wednesday, finding it behind a building next to the church.

“Some evidence of where they maybe destroyed the safe, but nothing’s been returned or found yet,” said Osborne.

Osborne says this isn’t the first time the church has been robbed.

“It’s sad, it’s angering, it’s been also interesting to see the reactions,” said Osborne.

This time the incident is widespread on social media, with more than 600 shares and plenty of comments.

“People have been praying for us, people have been calling on all of us to pray for those who stole, and I learned that it’s kind of going viral on Facebook,” said Osborne. “But the messages I’ve been reading of such warmth and support, it’s really been wonderful.”

All of us at St Thomas Church in Menasha, WI ask for your prayers. We were broken into and robbed sometime last night....

Posted by St. Thomas Church - Menasha, WI on Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Osborne hopes some of the more sentimental silver pieces will be recovered and is praying for those responsible.

“If they’re that desperate, that something happens for their hope and forgiveness and straightening,” said Osborne.

In the meantime, he sees the community support as extra light in a dark time, and knows Saint Thomas will carry on.

“We’re still blessed and there’s maybe more connection than there was before,” said Osborne.

The Menasha Police Department says it’s disappointing that someone stole from a church, and investigators will continue to follow up on any evidence officers collect.

Anyone with information about the theft is asked to contact the police department: (920) 967-3500

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