HOOKSTOWN (KDKA) — With its handmade brick and white steeple, the Frankfort Presbyterian Church in Hookstown is picture perfect.
But when congregation members like Christine Kelly arrived for Sunday services, something was very wrong with this picture.
“And all of a sudden someone said, ‘The bell’s gone!’” she said. “And we’re all going, ‘The bell’s gone!’ “
An historic solid brass bell that held pride of place here was missing – all 460 pounds of it.
“The guys are idiots – complete – no sense,” Greg Six said.
His family owns Six Recycling in East Liverpool, Ohio. They knew right away that it was a hot bell that three guys brought to his scrap metal business Monday afternoon in a van – as seen on surveillance video.
It was a ringer for the one on the scrap theft alert he got that morning for a stolen bell cast in 1871 by Fultons Son & Company in Pittsburgh for the Presbyterian church.
Filling out the paper work, a suspect in a cowboy hat signed it “Jamie L. Curtis,” but had no ID. Greg stalled while his son called police.
“I kept telling them since they didn’t have a photo ID we would have to issue them a check and that my brother writes all the checks and that he was at the bank.”
Finally, Greg spotted police outside the door on his video camera.
“I said, ‘Well, turn around, there’s a guy here that wants to see you.’
“And he opens the door with two police officers on the other side.”
Busted, the suspects were frisked and put in a cruiser.
“Oh we’re really happy and I got the phone call,” says Christine Kelly.
The church plans to pick up their bell Wednesday.
“We’re gonna put it back but they want to be sure of a different way to secure it – a better way to secure it there so that it can’t leave again,” she said.