South St. Louis County church posts special message for gas bandit


OAKVILLE, Mo. – First Baptist Church of Oakville has been the target of thieves before.    The church had catalytic converters stolen in the past. The most recent crimes facing the south St. Louis County church on Telegraph Road involves the theft of gasoline from a church van, according to Tony Pezzo, chairman of building and grounds for the church.  

“The first time the gas bandit came was about two weeks ago,” he said.  

Surveillance video shows a vehicle pulling next to the church van and then driving off a few minutes later.   Following that incident, Pezzo installed a gas cap with a lock. That didn’t work. Another theft occurred late Friday night.  

“This guy must have had some kind of special tool or something to actually pop that thing off pretty clean,” Pezzo said. 

The church has surveillance video showing a vehicle entering the church lot and then pulling next to the van before leaving.  

After giving the whole situation some careful thought, Pezzo crated a special note for the thief and taped it next to the gas cap. Part of the note reads, “We all need help during these times and we are here to help you.” 

Pezzo hopes anyone responsible for the thefts will contact the church instead of jeopardizing their future by stealing. 

“We encourage everybody to visit our church,” he said. “We just prefer it not to be the middle of the night stealing gas and catalytic converters.” 

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