PD: Arrest made in Peoria 'church in a box' theft

PD: Arrest made in theft of 'church in a box'
Posted at 11:29 AM, Apr 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-26 17:06:09-04

Police have located the man responsible for stealing a "church in a box" in Peoria.

Peoria Police report that on Jan. 23 they responded to the Cross of Glory Lutheran Church near Lake Plesant Parkway and Jomax Road.

Surveillance video reportedly shows what appears to be a white pick-up truck scouting the church around 3 a.m. 

A few hours later, the truck returned and was seen driving away with the church's 16-foot custom-made trailer. 

The Pastor said it contained everything needed for service — banners, a pulpit and baptismal font, and electronics — for the church's second site at Lake Pleasant Elementary School. 

He estimates the value at $40,000, officials said.

Police said in February a witness came forward after seeing the story in the media. The witness reportedly told police that the trailer was parked at her apartment complex and people were living in it. 

When police responded to the apartment complex near 19th Avenue and Bell Road, a man ran from the scene. He was not caught. However, police did find personal items belonging to 29-year-old Lance Alexander Friend. 

They also reportedly found that most of the church’s items were gone and replaced with other things. 

Friend was arrested on unrelated charges on April 20. 

Police interviewed Friend who reportedly told them that he traded most of the items for drugs and was living in the trailer. 

He has been charged with burglary and theft.