$100K in equipment stolen from church, then returned after botch - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

$100K in equipment stolen from church, then returned after botched getaway

Image: Rise Media Image: Rise Media
Image: Rise Media Image: Rise Media
Pastor Jonathan Galvante (Image: Hawaii News Now) Pastor Jonathan Galvante (Image: Hawaii News Now)
Jackie Galvante (Image: Hawaii News Now) Jackie Galvante (Image: Hawaii News Now)
Image: Hawaii News Now Image: Hawaii News Now
KAPOLEI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Brazen thieves targeted a small church in Kapolei, but their getaway didn't go exactly as planned.

Members of the small congregation were stunned to find out the criminals had stolen about $100,000 worth of expensive equipment.

But they got the stolen goods back in an incident they're calling divine intervention.

The Kapolei Middle School cafeteria transforms into a church every Sunday morning. However, with $100,000 worth of church items stolen overnight, the pastor feared services, especially Easter Sunday, would not be the same.

Rise Church in Kapolei launched five months ago. It's a “set up, tear down church” meaning everything they own is stored away in a nearby storage facility. Every Sunday, church members wake up at 5 a.m. to get ready for their 9 a.m. service.

So when Pastor Jonathan Galvante and his wife Jackie got a phone call Friday morning from the storage facility saying everything was gone, they were devastated.

"Close to $100,000 worth of equipment, that includes lighting, sound systems, drapes, everything for our children's church, computers, speakers, wires, everything you can think of that turns this place into a sanctuary," Galvante said.

Galvante's wife, Jackie, said the church forgives the thieves -- but hopes they realize their wrong.

"There is always forgiveness, there's grace, there's hope. That's the message we preach, that's the message we live every day,” she said. “But we do hope that there will be a heart of conviction, something that turns within them that says maybe this isn't something I should have done, or this is the life I should lead." 

There's no telling whether the thieves have turned over a new leaf, but the church is thanking divine intervention for getting the stolen equipment returned.

Here's what happened: The thieves drove the stolen U-Haul with a trailer attached to it with all the stolen equipment inside up Nanakuli Avenue in Nanakuli early Friday morning and the trailer broke off right in front of another pastor's home.

"Last night we were sleeping and we heard this thing like skidding on the side of the road and it hit the curb and we heard this truck take off up the road from our house," Bird Mahelona, Pastor of Fishers of Men Ministries said.

All $100,000 worth of items were inside the trailer and returned to Galvante.

Police have opened a first-degree theft case. There have been no arrests at this time. Anyone with information is asked to call Honolulu police.

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