Bell stolen from Edinburg church

EDINBURG – The Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the theft of a bell from Waterbrook Brethren Church on Palmyra Church Road  sometime between Jan. 21-24.

Capt. Wes Dellinger said that the thieves damaged a post outside the church building and stole the attached 12-inch cast-iron bell. He said the bell was valued at $200, and the damage to the post was $60.

This theft comes on the heels of a crime spree in the county that involves six different churches. All of those incidents occurred toward the end of December, and Dellinger said the Sheriff’s Office doubts there is a connection between the Waterbrook larceny and the previous six.

“This is just an outside incident,” he said. “Certainly it’s not the same motive, this particular incident.”

Normally, Dellinger said, the department sees two or three crimes against churches per year. He added that the past few months have constituted “more than the usual” number of church incidents.

“From what our investigations are indicating, I don’t think any other adjacent counties are seeing anything significant,” Dellinger said. There was a pair of church burglaries in Front Royal in December, he noted, but an arrest was made.

Dellinger said there are no developments in the investigation concerning the six end-of-year church break-ins.

He asked anyone who has any information regarding these crimes to contact the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office at 540-459-6100.