Church collection box thieves return and repent

St. Paul's Church, in Tartu.
St. Paul's Church, in Tartu. Source:

Thieves who stole a collection box from a Tartu church saw the error of their ways and went back to the scene of the crime, effectively to repent, regional daily Tartu Postimees reports.

The pair, who had stolen the donation box at St. Paul's Church (Pauluse kirik, pictured), a Lutheran church on Riia mnt, in Tartu, owned up following a social media campaign on the part of Pastor Joel Luhamets and, while they did not have the cash which had been contained in the receptacle, they returned the latter, with the promise of returning the funds too, at the start of the new month.

Pastor Luhamets called the ensuing meeting "very pleasant", adding that the box in fact had even more value for the church than its contents and that the penitents had said they needed the money to make ends meet – and had been absolved from that sin after asking for forgiveness and pledging to return with the money.

The fundraiser box had an estimated few hundred euros at the time of the theft, Luhamets said, while removing it was not just a question of picking up a box and required cutting it away from its metal base – in fact in the past thieves had unsuccessfully tried to do the same, Tartu Postimees reported, and other items have been stolen from the premises over the years.

The church had a functioning security camera, and Luhamets posted the relevant footage on social media, which ultimately led to one of the duo feeling sufficient remorse to make contact via messenger.

The original Tartu Postimees piece (in Estonian) is here.

Easter falls next Sunday, April 9.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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