Burglars break into Arlington church, steal safe, cherished books

ARLINGTON – Thieves smashed windows at an Arlington church overnight Friday and stole a safe, but it’s not money or financial documents that has parishioners praying for a safe return.

The safe contained sacramental registers for baptisms, marriages, deaths and confirmations, and other vital records dating back decades at the Immaculate Conception Church in Arlington.

“The parish would like anyone who has information about the stolen safe or its contents to contact Immculate Conception so these records can be returned,” said Greg Magnoni, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Seattle.

In a Facebook post, parishioner Nadine Locke Kapoun wrote, “We are appealing to whoever may be responsible to please return the record books that were in the safe. The record books have no financial value….they are our cherished history.”

The burglary reportedly occurred sometime between 5 p.m. Jan. 4 and early morning Jan. 5 when someone used a chair to break windows at the church to gain entry. A parish employee discovered the break in around 7 a.m. Saturday.

Police spokeswoman Kristin Banfield said there isn’t much detail to go on yet, but detectives are investigating. The church is conducting an inventory to help with the case, but it doesn’t appear that any other valuables were taken.

Specifically, six of the labeled hard cover books that were in the safe measure 9-by-14 inches, while the other two smaller and differently designed books were for First Communion and the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. An undisclosed amount of money also appeared to be missing.

If found, please return them to Immaculate Conception Church, 1200 E. 5th St.

“Since they have no value we fear they’ll be disposed of,” parishioner Rita Ehli Meehan said in a Facebook post. “Everyone please pray for their safe return and be on the lookout and help us. We know they’re out there.”

Anyone with details is asked to contact Arlington police at 360-403-3400 or the SNO911 non-emergency line at 425-407-3999.

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