Thieves Target Fresno Church: $7,000 Worth of Gold Stolen

A Central Fresno church needs your help to track down the thief, or thieves, who made off with thousands of dollars' worth of gold and electronics.

The break-in at St. George Greek Orthodox Church happened sometime last week.

Thieves broke into three buildings on the campus, including the gift shop, which was stocked with gold necklaces and pendants, and costume jewelry featuring greek phrases, and symbols.

"These trays were full... they took all of it..." says Father Jim Pappas, showing the empty trays in the gift shop. "[They are] items that would only make sense to a Greek."

Pappas says it appears those behind the heist thought it throughand knew where to go.

Holes were cut into the fence on the property.

Thieves also helped themselves to a TV/DVD set, and a faucet in the church's laundry room. Pappas calls this the worst thing to happen in his 21 years at the church.

But in the despair, there are some glimmers of hope.

"They also broke into the church--and touched nothing. And if people know about orthodox church, they'll know they're highly embellished."

Embellished, and tough to replace.

Some of the items inside the church are donated in memory of loved ones.

Flowers on a display dating back to Easter, are blooming againeven without a water source.

Pappas calls it a sign.

"That's God's way of saying I told you, I will provide for you," he says.

While it's hard to justify any crime, Pappas describes the heist as likely an act of desperation.

He hopes the person who took the gold still has it and returns it to the church.

"I can't tell someone to keep $5,000 dollars' worth of jewelry. But at least repentant is a good thing, then we can work from there and see what we can do about helping to rehabilitate the person. That's what a church is all about," he says.

If you have any information on the case, you are urged to call Fresno Police.