Woman faces felony charges for allegedly stealing from Butler Co - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Woman faces felony charges for allegedly stealing from Butler Co. church


The sounds of the season nearly fell silent from a Butler County church after thousands of dollars in musical musical instruments were stolen.

Except for the quick work of authorities and a local pastor who quickly worked together.

When police pulled over Elizabeth Hart they thought all the musical instruments in her car seemed unusual, but not as unusual as a local pastor's notebook. They called him, he found his church ransacked and Hart was soon behind bars.

"Well this is a praying church," said Pastor Gene Riddle. "There's too much power in here."

Riddle gives God all the credit with making sure their instruments were returned.

Riddle feels suspect, Elizabeth Hart was never going to get away with allegedly breaking and crawling through a window.

After that, she allegedly took more around $6,000 in instruments and sound equipment.

"I'm not a mind reader but I am pretty sure she was coming back for the rest of it."

Riddle says he found other instruments and microphones lined up and ready to go.

"There was still a lot of value in here and I believe she was planning on coming back to get it all," said Riddle.

On Wednesday, city police pulled Hart over and discovered instruments and Pastor Riddle's notebook in her car.

By the time they got in contact with him too much time had passed and they had to let Hart go, but Riddle went immediately to deputies who tracked her down in just three hours.

"It takes a special kind of crazyness to steal from a church," said Cpl. Randle Huddleston of the Butler County Sheriff's Department.

According to Cpl. Huddleston, Hart allegedly made another mistake.

"We had an informant that she had called and told she needed to sell those items quickly to make money to hire an attorney," he said.

They tracked her down and found all the stolen goods except for two guitars and a speaker.

"She has quite a history of breaking in and stealing things," said Huddleston.

As for pastor Riddle, he's happy joyful noises will fill his sanctuary as they celebrate the Christmas season.

"We are thrilled," he said. "Between our friends at the police and sheriff's office the promptness they took was amazing."

Riddle said he had a lot of friends and music stores ready to donate instruments if needed.

Meanwhile, they are still looking for two guitars and a speaker and ask you be on the look out for those at pawn shops and second hand dealers.

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