Tip leads to two arrests in theft of Beaver church's historic kettles
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Leaders of a Beaver County church said Tuesday that all they can do is pray for two men who have been charged in the theft earlier this month of antique apple butter cauldrons from the church.
South Beaver police arrested Christopher Mulroy, 30, and Daniel Wickline, 22, both of New Galilee, after a tip from a scrap metal shop in New Castle that said the men sold the kettles there.
Mr. Mulroy and Mr. Wickline are charged with stealing six copper apple butter cauldrons from the First United Presbyterian Church in Darlington, Beaver County, on June 8.
The church uses the kettles every October to make apple butter that it sells to raise funds.
"It's unfortunate, but we're praying for those who took them and for all those who have difficulties in their lives, whether it's drug addiction or poverty or whatever leads to these kinds of things," said Carl Frederick Hoffman, the church's pastor.
South Beaver Assistant Police Chief Jack Mintier said that the men sold five of the kettles as scrap metal at New Castle Recycling Inc. for $108. He said the value of each of the kettles, which date to the 19th century, is $500.
Chief Mintier said Mr. Mulroy might have first sold one of the kettles.
"Then he got the bright idea to scrap the rest which didn't turn out to be very profitable for him," he said. "It was a whole lot of work for a whole lot of nothing."
The church plans to continue the apple butter fundraiser. Four community members have donated kettles since the theft and a range of churches, one as far away as Uniontown, have offered to lend theirs.
"We have to make apple butter this year," church elder Kevin Vosler, 58, of Ohioville said. He said the church also is considering additional outreach, such as donating money to The Gideons International to buy Bibles for prisons.
"We're trying to come up with something to help the people who did this," Mr. Vosler said.
Chief Mintier said Mr. Wickline worked part time for a landscaping company and Mr. Mulroy was unemployed.
First Published June 27, 2012 12:00 am