Arlington church that lost bell to thieves begins fundraising campaign to replace it

ARLINGTON — Metal thieves stole more than a piece of history from Immaculate Conception church last summer. When they snatched the century-old church bell to sell for scrap, they also took a piece of the congregation’s heart, church members say

“The bell meant a lot to the members because it was a piece from the original church,” auction chairwoman Kathy Christiansen said.

The church will hold a dinner and auction Saturday to raise funds for a new bell and bell housing. There will be a prime rib or steak dinner along with a live, silent and dessert auction at the event.

The bell was from the original church and was from the early 1900s, Christiansen said.

Church members are looking to replace the original bell with one that looks similar, but those run $4,000 to $10,000, Christiansen said. They wanted to find the same style of bell because it represents the original church, but may have to settle on something less expensive.

They are also looking for a local company to build a housing around the bell to prevent future theft.

“We are hoping that we can get the bell and housing for around $10,000,” Christiansen said. “We are also hoping that the auction and dinner we have will raise enough funds to pay for the bell and bell housing.”

The bell was stolen last year over Memorial Day weekend, said Arlington assistant city administrator Kristin Banfield.

“The investigation is still open and anyone with information about the theft should call the Arlington Police Department,” she said.

Criminals steal metal items, such as church bells, so they can cut them into pieces and sell them to recyclers for money, Banfield said. Once they are cut up, the bells become difficult to identify and recognize for what they were.

“In order to keep other thefts like this from happening in the future we are urging people to be alert, and if anything suspicious looking is going on, then call the police,” Banfield said.

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