• 55°

thieves take church guitars

By Frank DeLoache
Salisbury Post
ROCKWELL ó When he was a young man, Scott Pace says he wasn’t perfect. Or as he phrases it, “We all had our times.”
But he also remembers that even among those running afoul of the law, “there was a respect for churches.”
That’s why he finds it “very shocking” that vandals and thieves have targeted his church three times in recent months.
The Rev. Pace and his wife, Melanie, have served The Rock, formerly Rockwell Foursquare Church, at 795 Cannon St., for about four years. And only recently has the trouble begun.
First, someone used one or more vehicles to tear up the church’s gravel parking lot, requiring church members to regrade the lot.
Then, someone broke into a church van and shot off a fire extinguisher inside the vehicle.
“The foam in an extinguisher is very corrosive,” Pace said, “and it’s difficult to clean up.”
Again, the church members repaired the damage as best they could.
Then, on Monday or Tuesday, someone broke into the church through a side window and stole five guitars ó a sunburst Gibson Les Paul, a cherry wood Gibson SG, a silver Fender teleacoustic and two Ibanez basses, one red and the second a gray metallic.
Altogether, the guitars are worth about $3,000, Pace said, but several are worth much more to some members of the congregation.
The Paces’ 15-year-old son, Holden, worked at Camp Courtney, an interdenominational Christian camp in Hendersonville, this summer and last to raise money to buy the two Gibson guitars.
Brandon, another new member of the church, worked overtime on his job at Wingfoot to buy one of the basses. He had only gotten it two days before the burglary, Pace said.
The church still has a piano, and Melanie Pace observed in an e-mail that the sign at the front of the church now reads, “You Can’t Steal Our Praise.”
Still, the Paces would like to get the word out in the community and hope the thieves and the guitars can be found.
A Rockwell police officer who investigated the break-in at the Rock told Rev. Pace that someone broke into the officer’s church and stole parts of the public address system.
Contacted Friday, a sergeant at the Rockwell Police Department said he was not familiar with the case and not aware of burglars targeting churches. The officer investigating the break-in at The Rock doesn’t return to duty until Monday.
“I listen to people, and you find out that they’re hitting a lot of churches” because they see churches as easy targets, Rev. Pace said.
“I think it’s very shocking,” he said.
Contact Frank DeLoache at 704-797-4245 or fdeloache @salisburypost.com.

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