SOUTH BEAVER TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — The theft of copper kettles could put to an end a century-old tradition for a church in Beaver County.

It all started when thieves broke into the garage of First United Presbyterian Church of Darlington in South Beaver Township last Friday.

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Six of the seven kettles the church uses to make apple butter each October were stolen. It would take two men to hoist each 50-pound kettle off its hook.

“Some of these kettles are from the late 1800’s and children, young people would work with their parents to make the apple butter,” Kevin Vosler, a church elder, said.

The church uses money from the sale of the apple butter to help the community.

“We help people with their rent and helped with bills and we have a food pantry,” Vosler said.

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Church officials say the burglars had to know where the kettles are kept.

“It had to be somebody who knew they were in there so more than likely it was somebody that we have helped,” Vosler said.

Police are scouring all the scrap yards and antique shops throughout the tri-state area for the kettles.

In the meantime, police are looking for suspects.

“We have some names, so we have to eliminate as we go along and try to figure out if they’re involved,” South Beaver Township Assistant Police Chief Jack Mintier.

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