Thieves made off with six bronze and brass bells, one of which weighing 1200 to 1500 pounds, from Holy Dormition Church here, on Friday, April 16, 2010.
The theft was discovered by Archpriest Vasily Lickwar, rector, that morning, after he observed a man quickly getting into a van parked in the church’s driveway. When questioned, the man told Father Vasily, “I just love to come here with my girlfriend and pray.”
Moments after the van left, Father Vasily discovered that five of the six bells that had hung in small wooden tower next to the church were missing. A sixth bell, about the size of a large coffee can, remained. But shortly after investigators left, Father Vasily discovered that it too was missing.
“It had to be a premeditated job,” Father Vasily told local news media.
The bells were were installed at different times during the parish’s 102 year existence. One bell originally hung on the Queen Mary, while others came from schools, factories, other churches, and public markets. Still, Father Lickwar said, they were important to the life of the parish.
Father Vasily said that, based on the value of the metal alone, the bells were probably worth about $100,000.
“All we’re asking for is for the people to bring them back,” he told local reporters. “We will take them back, no questions asked.”