Two southwest Iowa families are offering a $5,000 cash reward for information that leads to the return of a large bell that was stolen from a church in Cass County last weekend.
Drue Kirchhoff says the bell was located in front of the United Congregational Methodist Church in Lewis. “It was stolen sometime during the evening of Friday night-Saturday morning,” he says. “They backed a pickup in there and had a couple of planks to wheel it in across there, into the pickup and away they went.”
The church bell has a long history in the area, but Kirchhoff wasn’t certain of its age. “We’re not sure but we think it’s the original bell from Fletcher Chapel on Highway 71 and then when they built the United Methodist church in Lewis, I think they put it there,” he says.
He suspects the bell is made of cast iron, which is a hot commodity these days for its salvage value, especially when it’s included with other heavy metals. Kirchhoff is asking salvage yards across the region to be on the lookout for the bell.
“I don’t know if they could throw it inside of a car or something, try to hide it as they bring it in or what they’d do.” Kirchhoff, who runs Southwest Iowa Tiling in Griswold, and Rob and Marlo Stamp with Stamp Construction in Atlantic, are offering the reward for the return of the bell, no questions asked.
“We won’t press charges. If they need help, we’ll try to help them out,” Kirchhoff says. “I talked to the minister this morning and he said, ‘Maybe this is God’s way of getting them help.'”
(By Ric Hanson, KJAN, Atlantic)