Criminal with conscience hides box of bibles under bush 20 miles from where they were stolen

Criminal with conscience hides box of bibles under bush 20 miles from where they were stolen
The pastor and his wife were excited about the delivery of 24 study bibles. They were to be sent out before Christmas through their non-profit Inspiration for Inmates. Each bible requested by a person serving time in federal prison. (Source: Troy Bowlby/WBTV)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The thief who stole to boxes from a Gastonia front porch probably hoped to find something to sell. But there really isn’t a hot market for Bibles on the streets. But the thief must have had a conscience. They didn’t dump the bibles. They tucked them under the canopy of a bush.

Just after our 7pm News Thursday we got a call from a viewer. He recognized the bibles in a story we aired. “I found those bibles!”

We gave that man’s information to Pastor Jeff Williams of West Franklin Baptist Church. He spoke with the man Friday morning.

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“He said they were coming out of church and they noticed the packages or boxes…next to the church. They went to check it out and (saw) all the bibles,” Pastor Williams told me.

The boxes were stolen from Pastor Williams porch at home Monday. Inside, 24 bibles intended for inmates who had requested them through their ministry, Inspiration for Inmates.

The man who discovered the boxes didn’t want to be identified. But he found the boxes of bibles under a bush almost 20 miles from where they were stolen.

But the man who found them didn’t know they were stolen. But he didn’t want them to go to waste, so he took them to the Goodwill University Pointe.

Camille Toscano works is a Book Scanner there. “I have an eye for value. When I saw the books, I knew they were not your typical bibles.”

She knew they were special but didn’t know they’d been stolen.

Camille was holding some of the newly donated bibles in her hand Wednesday when a customer admired them near the checkout line.

“She proceeded to tell me the story of the missing books and that a pastor was looking for them and she saw it on tv. I was not aware of it,” Camille told me today.

Melinda Wilshire is Director of Marketing at Goodwill Industries of Southern Piedmont. She personally rolled out the cart full of boxes for Pastor Williams to see.

“We have 19 recovered but as soon as we found out you were looking for them, we saw the news we pulled them off the floor.”

Williams was elated.

“All the inmates will have their bibles hopefully in time for Christmas! Thank you, guys, so much! That's awesome,” William said, holding a bible in his hand.

As for the criminal with a conscience? Ironically, Pastor Williams ministry,, Inspiration for Inmates, is all about second chances.

“Everyone deserves a second chance maybe even a third or a fourth! God's not concerned with the number. He's just concerned with us.”

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