ENID, Okla. – Enid police are investigating the theft of a 100-year-old cast iron church bell, worth more than $1,000.
The bell was allegedly stolen from New Hope United Methodist Church between Nov. 23 and Nov. 30.
To church leaders, the theft is not about the money.
The bell is irreplaceable.
The church has gone to great lengths to get into the holiday spirit, until the beloved cast iron bell was allegedly stolen during Thanksgiving week.
Dale Gillham has been a member of New Hope United Methodist since kindergarten.
He’s watched the church move locations and expand.
He says the bell came from their old location on the other side of town.
When they moved, the bell went with them.
“It was sitting right here,” says Gillham. “It was on a wooden flat. They just had it sitting down on there and the bell was on top of it.”
Weighing in at 1,000 pounds, the church never thought the bell would be stolen.
But during the season of giving, it went missing.
Church members had a lot of plans in the works for the bell, including putting it on display with a plaque.
“Tell what the bell was about and about the history of the church, and that would have been a perfect place for it back there in the corner,” says Gillham. “We were also discussing about maybe incorporating it in our sign out there at some future date.”
Gillham says giving the news to some of the oldest members of New Hope United broke their hearts.
“It was difficult to tell them that the bell is gone and hard to explain to them,” says Gillham. “I’m sure they had a problem with getting a hold of the reality that they’re not going to have their bell anymore.”
In the spirit of the holidays, New Hope United Methodist won’t let thieves get them down.
“We’re going to carry on,” says Gillham. “We’ve got a lot of things happening in this church that keeps the spirit going, so we’re going to do fine.”
Some of the older members had a theory of Scrooge and the Grinch being responsible for the theft.
Other than that, Enid Police do not have any solid leads.
The church’s security cameras were too far away to catch the thieves in the act.
If you have any information, you are urged to give them a call at (580) 233-6233.