A local pastor’s message to thieves siphoning gas from church vans on two separate occasions isn’t based in anger, but in love.
The message of the Solway Baptist Church, according to the church’s pastor Logan Parton, is that their role is to help and bless the community. The church, Parton says, can only help when asked.
“My first initial reaction was just shock,” Parton said, after thieves emptied one of the church’s three 15-seat vans. The act, caught on surveillance footage, shows a car pull up next to the van in the church’s parking lot and work near the gas tank.
“They come in with a purpose, they know what they’re coming to get. They come straight in to our church vans. Do what they have to do to get the gas out of the van,” said Parton.
Then, it happened again within the first three days of April. Now, due to damage, the church is unable to drive two of the three vans used to transport 15 to 60 kids on some days to the church for activities and, most importantly, dinner.
“It may be the only meal they get that day, if we don’t have the capacity to pick everybody up on a normal basis… then kids are suffering,” said Parton.
He hopes by sharing the surveillance footage, someone with information will come forward. The crimes already have been reported to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.
Parton says, although the church isn’t able to use the vans – he isn’t angry.
“We’re here to be a blessing and a help, we’ll go out of our way to do anything we can for anybody. Rather than feeling the need to steal from the church, simply ask.”