A man who stole a pastor’s trailer off church property in Evansville, Indiana, has apologized to the church leader, who is not going to press charges. The thief reached out to Pastor Tony Metcalf of The Gathering Church after Metcalf told 14 News that if the man returned the trailer, Metcalf would forgive him and welcome him at church.
“Bring the trailer back; all will be forgiven,” said Metcalf. “We’ll save you a seat on Sunday, and we’ll gladly have you.”
Tony Metcalf Not Pressing Charges for Trailer Theft
On Monday, June 5, The Gathering Church pastor Ray Brown announced on Facebook that Metcalf’s trailer had been stolen from church property. “We once again [called] the Police to report another trailer stolen off of our Church property that is one of our Pastors [sic] Tony Metcalf,” said Brown. “We have had one other trailer stolen, had a catalytic converter cut off our transport bus and a burglary within our church. All Totaling nearly 14k. Tony’s trailer is about $600.”
Metcalf told 14 News that a break-in last October cost the church $11,000. He anticipated the loss of several thousand dollars as a result of the theft of the trailer, which the church uses to transport food.
Camera footage of the theft showed the license plate of the thief’s car. Brown said church leaders had informed local police of the incident, and he asked people to share images from the footage in hopes of catching the perpetrator.
“We’re all about forgiveness,” Metcalf told 14 News. “This is a church of the redeemed. A lot of our congregation has a past,” including people, he said, who have committed crimes similar to the trailer theft. It was his promise not press charges if the man returned the trailer that likely led to the thief calling him to apologize.
“I got word last night that the guy who stole Tony’s small trailer off the Church property was going to return it last night,” said Brown in an update early Wednesday. “We shall see this morning.”
Metcalf told 14 News that the thief told him he had received many phone calls from people who recognized him in the security footage and who were urging him to return the trailer. “He said, ‘I’m sorry I didn’t realize it was your trailer,’” said Metcalf. “He said, ‘If there’s any way I can bring it back, I’d like to do that.’ I said, ‘Absolutely.’”
Unfortunately, the man did not make it to Metcalf with the trailer. He stopped for gas on the way and when police tried to apprehend him, he ran from them. Police officers then informed Metcalf that the trailer was at the gas station. “Our senior pastor has been in communication with his daughter,” said Metcalf, “and she was just very grateful to us for extending grace and just hoped this would be an opportunity for him to turn his life around and be the man that God intended him to be, and that’s our hope for him as well.”