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(Updated 11:30 a.m., May 27)
Thieves steal 250 lb. bell from Bearbrook church bell tower

By Fred Sherwin
The Orléans Star

Marilyn Lowe and Rev. Margo Whittaker, holding the missing bell's clanger, stand in front of Trinity Anglican Church in Bearbrook with the bell tower in the background. Fred Sherwin/Photo

For the first time in more than 90 years parishioners at Trinity Anglican Church in Bearbrook won't be called to Sunday service by the church's cast iron bell. That's because the 250-pound bell was stolen from the church belfry likely in the early morning hours on May 21.

John Armstrong was called in to replace a part on the bell mechanism that was found on the lawn last Monday. When he went up into the bell tower to replace it, he noticed that the bell was no longer there.

"I went up and stuck my head up through the hole and I'm looking... where's the bell? There's no bell," recalls Armstrong. "So I called Merle (Jackson) -- he's the groundskeeper -- and he said that he had filled a hole in the lawn on Monday. 'Come to think of it, it was the shape of a bell', he said."

Armstrong also called his sister Sharen, who is the people's warden at the church and she reported the theft to the police. She also informed the church's pastor Margo Whittaker who reacted to the news in total shock.

"I was curious and stunned at the same time. There's no bell, what do mean no bell? I've heard of church bells being sold at flea markets for a couple thousand dollars or more. I suspect it was someone looking to sell the material of the bell," opines Whittaker.

The theory most people are working on is that two or three men pulled up to the church in the early morning hours on May 21 and used a ladder to gain access to the belfry.

Once in the tower, they took the bell from its cradle and dropped it over the edge to the ground below before loading it into a truck and making their getaway. The only thnig they left behind was the bell's clanger.

Rector's warden Marilyn Lowe also reacted with disbelief when she heard the news of the bell's disappearance.

"I feel shocked and very sad that someone would stoop that low. Is nothing sacred anymore," Lowe asked rather rherorically.

The church was built in 1900 and the bell tower was added 25 years later in 1925. The bell has been rung for Sunday service and special events, including VE Day when it was rung to signal the end of the Second World War, ever since

The stone gothic church sits at the corner of Russell and Dunning Roads. Services for the 30 or more parishioners are held every Sunday morning at 8:15 a.m.

The theft of church bells is mone common than you would think. Last August two men were arrested in New Brunswick and charged with allegedly stealing bells from two rural churches including St. Paul's Anglican Church in Kirkland. And in May two men were charged for stealing a bell from a church in Springfield, Illinois.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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All three individuals were rushed to the hospital for treatment, while two other siblings, an 11-year-old and a 20-year-old male, escaped uninjured.

Both the wife and daughter, who suffered superficial injuries to her head and lower body, were treated and later released, while Lambert's injuries were upgraded from life-threatening to serious.

He was arraigned in absentia on Tuesday while still recovering in hospital.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

 

   
   

 




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