INDIANA COUNTY (KDKA) – It seemed like an incredible deal for a small church in Indiana County looking for transportation to spread the word.
But what first seemed like a blessing for the church turned out to be an expensive curse.
“We wanted to get some vans,” said Rev. Chris Massey at Kinport Assembly of God Church. “One thing that’s been on our hearts is to reach our local community, offer bus service to and from services.”
The Cherry Tree Indiana County church seemed to have their prayers answered when Stephen Worth Longstreth showed up with a deal.
“We went and sat down with this individual,” Massey said. “The idea was we were going to get two 20-passenger vans, 2007-2008.”
Longstreth had pictures, paperwork and a sales pitch. And before long, he had $20,000 of church money.
“Answered all of our questions, seemed very professional,” Massey said.
Weeks passed and there were no vans. But the pastor says Longstreth wasn’t short on excuses.
“They hadn’t been released by the other company that owned them, they were waiting for replacements,” he said. “Snow storms would come up, we can’t leave, we’re gonna leave – just everything.”
The church leadership decided to call state police. That’s when they found out Stephen Worth Longstreth was not all he seemed.
“Found out the individual they believe we’re dealing with had a criminal record and the house of cards crumbled in front of my eyes,” Massey said.
State police issued an arrest warrant for Longstreth of Greentree. He remains on the loose.
“It’s no in our hearts to be vengeful, but we feel it’s in our stewardship that this doesn’t happen to anyone else,” Massey said. “I don’t think we have any realistic expectations we’re gonna get our money back at this point.”