Stolen Mount Washington church pipe organ sought

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The priest at a now-closed Mount Washington church hopes police will be able to find a pipe organ that was stolen this week.

"We're trusting in Pittsburgh's finest to do their job," the Rev. Walt Rydzon, who was pastor at St. Justin Catholic Church, said today.

The church closed two weeks ago when it merged with St. Mary of the Mount, where Father Rydzon now is parochial vicar.

Father Rydzon said organ consol and pipes were located on the second floor. The pipes -- numbering 150 to 200 and as large as about 10 feet tall -- were behind a screen.

He said a maintenance worker on Thursday "came in and said, 'The organ's gone.'"

Father Rydzon said the maintenance worker had been "working downstairs constantly" since the closure. "That was his first trip up there in two weeks."

He said the organ was part of the church when it was built in 1957 and was valued between $150,000 and $200,000.

"We're devastated," he said. "We were a poor church to begin with. That's why we closed. We were attempting to sell St. Justin as a church. Of course, integral to the selling would be the organ."

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