Loyal church member steals 30 grand - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Loyal church member steals 30 grand

Posted by Elizabeth Stewart - email

FORT PIERCE, FL (WFLX) - "Personally, I'm disappointed. Personally, I'm extremely disappointed." The minister of the Garden City Church of Christ finds the whole thing hard to believe.

One of the church members, he says, who rarely missed a Sunday worship service, stole 30,000 dollars from the church. "This went on for two years. It seems he was disregarding one of the Ten Commandments: Thou shalt not steal. He would make withdrawals from the church's account and there were withdrawals for numerous things that occurred. It's just very disappointing, very disheartening."

Police say the member of the congregation who was a church board member and a family man was quietly ripping off the church a little at a time for two years, using a church credit card that gave him access to the church's funds at SunTrust Bank. He allegedly used the church's money to go online and pay bills, buy gas and groceries and other things with the church's cash.

"It's unfortunate, it really really is. But had it not been for the trust that we have for each other, it would not have gone on this far and of course, it should never have reached this point."

Last October, when church leaders realized money was missing, they confronted the member and told him if he repaid the 30 thousand he took, they would not go to the police. "With him saying that he would pay it back, we really held to that. We really believed that he would."

However, he never paid a nickel back. The minister of Garden City Church prays they'll get the money back. "You have members that have dedicated their life savings, some of them and their hard earned money through work in their offerings. And for someone to come along and literally lift it out of their wallets, its just unheard of."

The church minister says there's at least 30 thousand missing and it could go even higher. They're doing an audit right now to try to get to the bottom of it.

No one has been arrested. As for the church member who is accused, the minister says he no longer attends that church but still lives in the Fort Pierce area.

Police say they will try to gather enough evidence through bank records to charge him with grand theft.

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