FOUNTAIN HILLS, AZ (3TV/CBS5) - Deputies are investigating after a large metal cross was stolen from a Fountain Hills church.

Rev. John LesCallett with the Anglican Church of Atonement says a roofer volunteered to remove the cross from the top of the church after it was knocked over during a recent storm. A crane was used to take down the cross and church leaders left it leaning against the wall near the entrance as they considered where they would place it next.

On Sunday, LesCallett says he showed up for services and it was gone.

The 200 pound metal cross was gifted to the church when it was built 15 years ago. LesCallett says it’s probably not worth a lot of money, but the cross means a lot to the parish.

“It wasn't bronze or gold or silver or anything, it was just a simple metal cross,” says LesCallett. “It’s worth a million dollars to us but I don’t know what they’d be able to get for it.”

The roofer, Drew Schmitt of Schmitt Roofing, had learned the cross went missing and began sharing pictures on social media hoping someone would spot it.

“Why would you steal a cross from a church?” says Schmitt. “It's like stealing money from orphans, why would you do that?”

“It let people know we were here, and it was calling people to Jesus Christ and this place,” says LesCallett.

He says he forgives the people who stole it. LesCollett is asking them to bring it back, no questions asked.

“That would be a prayer answered,” says LesCollett.

LesCollett says the church does not have the money to immediately replace the cross. He’s considering a fundraiser.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.

Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.



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