JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office issued a warning Tuesday about a rash of van thefts throughout the city of Jacksonville and now Channel 4 has learned that a local church was victim to one of the thefts.
Pastor Gabe Trevino told Channel 4 that the church van from Faith Temple Assembly of God was stolen on Valentine's Day.
"These guys wouldn't be able to get to church if we didn't pick them up, so it was priority to us," said Trevino.
Trevino explained that the van was used to shuttle kids to and from church, but now the group is left using a costly rental to get by.
"We forgive them. It's a van. It's replaceable and we look forward to one day meeting them and going forward from there," said Trevino.
The sign on Faith Temple Assembly of God's building reads, "No perfect people allowed." Trevino told Channel 4 that if the thieves came forward, that he'd welcome them into his church.
"I don't know what all of this is about, but it's an opportunity for our church to even love those who didn't show so much love that night," said Trevino. "So I would love to even invite those who took our van to be part of what we're doing here at Faith Temple."
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said the Westside church's van was one of 10 vans targeted by crooks over the last month.
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"Right now, we'd like to get a break in one of these cases so we can make an arrest in one of these cases and start to determine if any of those are linked," said Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Shannon Hartley.
"We have about 60 students in our school, so we're talking about re-arranging field trips right now. We have to try to get parents to try to leave their work to be a part of the carpool right now and with Wednesday night and Sunday morning picking people up, we only have one van," said Trevino.
Deputies are asking anyone with any information about these crimes to come forward.
"We realize people are going through stuff and we know that it could be used in a crime, and our pray is that it's not," said Trevino.
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