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Chesterfield pastor: church burglary suspect called to apologize

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Two teens are accused of taking thousands of dollars worth of goods and possibly sensitive information from a Chesterfield church.

"I came in that Monday morning and I found that my door had been kicked in," said Pastor Lee Ellison of Mount Hermon Baptist Church on Genito Road. "I came in, and I found that some of the items were missing."

Mathew Grove and Steven Jarrell were both arrested and charged with burglary, grand larceny, and conspiracy.

"I was thinking to myself at least they couldn't get in the safe," said Pastor Ellison. "We were surprise that the safe was gone."

The pastor says laptop computers with sensitive information were located inside the safe.

"We've taken the precaution of canceling bank accounts and opening new bank accounts," said Pastor Ellison.

Police say the suspects got away with more than $5,000 dollars in items. Pastor Ellison says one of the suspects called to apologize. He did not want to disclose which suspect made the apology.

"I was surprised to hear from him, but greatly appreciated the fact that he called to apologize," said Ellison. "He was in the parking lot with some of the stolen items seeking to return them to us right now"

Police have recovered several of the stolen items and returned them to the church. $50 Food Lion gift cards inside that safe actually helped break the case. Police say the suspects used the cards at a Food Lion in Powhatan.

"We obtained the video and then were able to identify the suspects," said Lt. Steve Grohowski who notes the suspect may have hit another church. "We believe two, one in Powhatan and one in Chesterfield."

Pastor Ellison says he is not mad at the two teenagers.

"I've been praying for them and I wish them well," said Pastor Ellison. "I would hope that things could change in their lives for the better."

The suspects could face up to 50 years in prison if convicted on all three charges. They are due in court in December.

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