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Local pastor's van, church valuables stolen

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville pastor's church van was stolen on the west side Wednesday, along with some valuable equipment belonging to the assembly.

Pastor Mark Griffin, of Wayman Chapel AME Church, can't believe a thief was bold enough to steal his 15 passenger van right off church property. Griffin said attached to the back of the van was about $3,000 worth of lawn mowing equipment. Griffin said it's equipment used by the ex-offenders he hires as part of his "transformation program."

"What they took is much more valuable than the cost of it. It's going to impact people's employment," said Griffin. "We are going to try hard to do what we can to keep everyone employed."

It's a setback for the church now that spring is here.

According to the crime report, a church member discovered where it appears the thief cut through a nearby chain link fence to gain access to the van.

Investigators are looking for a white Ford 15 passenger van. Griffin said Wayman Ministries is written in burgundy letters on the side of it. The van's license plate is Florida tag L864PE.

"We don't lose hope," said Griffin. "We are going to tool back up and let that person know that if you have our stuff, we ask that you turn it back in, because you are not going to be blessed doing the wrong thing, but it's not going to stop us from helping the people that need help."

Griffin said he suspects the thief was really after the lawn mowing equipment. It's made by Hustler and is yellow with a black engine.

Griffin said he has about nine cameras around the property, but none of them were able to capture the crime. He said he plans to add more in that particular area.

Anyone with any information on this theft is asked to call Jacksonville police at 904-630-0500.

About the Authors:

Lifetime Jacksonville resident, journalist and experienced broadcast news producer with a passion for classic and exotic cars.