Trailer stolen from church returned after thief apologizes to pastor

Stolen trailer returned to Gathering Church
Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 12:07 AM EDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - A trailer that was stolen from The Gathering Church was returned, and the thief has apologized just two days after a 14 News report on the theft.

In that report on Monday, Pastor Tony Metcalf promised to forgive whoever took the trailer if it was returned. On Wednesday, he received a call from the man who stole it.

Metcalf had captured security footage of his trailer being stolen from the church parking lot on Friday. Since then, the story took off on social media being shared over 600 times on Facebook.

[PREVIOUS STORY: Man caught on camera stealing from church]

The pastor said the man told him his phone had been ringing non-stop as people who recognized him from the security footage tried to get him to return it.

“He was very apologetic,” says Metcalf. “He said I’m sorry I didn’t realize it was your trailer, he said if there’s any way I can bring it back, I’d like to do that. I said absolutely.”

Metcalf said the man tried to return it on Wednesday. He said as the man was headed their way, he stopped for gas at Marina Point.

“The Henderson Sheriff’s Office showed up over there,” said Metcalf. “He ended up running from the police. He unfortunately didn’t make it here. They told me the trailer was there.”

While those legal issues remain, Metcalf said with the trailer back, he’s not pursuing any charges.

“Our senior pastor has been in communication with his daughter, and she was just very grateful to us for extending grace and just hoped this would be an opportunity for him to turn his life around and be the man that God intended him to be, and that’s our hope for him as well,” said Metcalf.

Evansville Police confirmed that in case of stolen property, if the victim chooses not to press charges, the case is dropped. That means in this case, the man is absolved for stealing the trailer.

Still, because of the charges that led Henderson law enforcement to pursue the man, Metcalf said he expects the man to face some hard times ahead.

Each step of the way, the pastor said his offer still remains: Do what’s right, and The Gathering Church will be there to help.

“This is a church of the redeemed,” Metcalf said. “Everybody here has made mistakes, and we don’t let our mistakes define us.”

We asked the Henderson Sheriff’s Office about the incident where the man tried to run away, and they refused to give any information. They said it’s an active investigation.