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Crook accused of stealing thousands of dollars worth of musical equipment from Wooster churches

Posted at 4:37 PM, Feb 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-06 19:18:14-05

Wooster police have identified a man suspected of breaking into two churches and stealing thousands of dollars worth of musical and computer equipment.

The man's name has not been released, but charges are pending, according to Assistant Police Chief Scott Rotolo.

"We are in the process of attempting to recover as much of the stolen property as we can and are still putting the final touches on the investigation. We expect to forward the case to our prosecutor in the next couple of weeks," Rotolo said.

On Feb. 2, a man wearing a hooded sweatshirt and carrying a crowbar smashed open one door to get inside Wooster Church of the Nazarene and then busted open a second door to get into the sanctuary.

The thief took off with more than $10,000 worth of guitars, amps, microphones and other musical equipment.

"Hopefully, there can be redemption as well for the individual. That's what we teach and preach and we try to live around here, so we believe that for everybody," said Executive Pastor Joel Yates.

Ty Offineer, the church's business administrator, said the cameras were in night mode, but still captured the shadow of the man picking things up from the stage.

"He was very specific on what he wanted because he knew what he could probably trade in pretty quickly to get money for," Offineer said.

The thief's face was shared on the church's Facebook page 25,000 times.

However, the big break came when a Wooster cop started calling musical stores and found serial numbers on equipment — sold to an Akron store — that matched the stolen stuff.

"They pulled the ID because they get the ID of the people so they always have that on record," Offineer said.

That led police to the suspect and Assistant Chief Rotolo said that man is also suspected of stealing more than $5,000 worth of computer and musical equipment from North Life Baptist Church.

So far, one guitar has been returned to Wooster Church of the Nazarene, but leaders are hoping to get all of their equipment back since the suspect appears to be cooperating with police.

"Forgiveness doesn't mean that there's not still earthly consequences but there is forgiveness," Yates said.