A Waynesboro pastor has his electric guitar back after burglars broke into a church and stole it last month.
A posting on Craigslist led police to the instrument but they're still not sure they've caught the people who actually stole it. Police also recovered a stolen TV.
In all, more than $2,500 worth of electronics disappeared from the Waynesboro Free Methodist Church last month. Police have arrested one person but they think more suspects are out there. Michael Ramirez is free on bond after officers caught him through the Craigslist sting.
Undercover officers arranged to meet him along Lucy Lane near Walmart and Sonic in Waynesboro. Ramirez showed up to the shopping center thinking he was going to meet a potential buyer, but police were waiting for him with an arrest warrant. All they had to do was verify the serial number they knew was on Pastor Chris Pulice’s guitar.
Police say, in some ways, the Internet's actually making it easier to track down stolen goods.
“Back in years ago before the Internet, criminals would take things that they stole to pawnshops and get some money now they're kind of using Craigslist,” said Sgt. Brian Edwards with the Waynesboro Police Department.
Meanwhile, Pulice is just happy to have his guitar back, and holds no grudges against whoever stole it. “We love you,” he said. “We forgive you.”
That wasn’t the only good news for Pulice. When he got the message his guitar had been found on Craigslist, Pulice was at the hospital. His wife just gave birth to their first baby.
Police say the investigation is still ongoing and if you have any information for them you're asked to call Crimestoppers at 1-800-322-2017.
City of Waynesboro Police Department Press Release
Update – July 9, 2014
The Waynesboro Police Department has arrested a Rockingham County man in connection with the burglary. Officers charged Michael Ramirez, 49 years old of Port Republic, with two felony counts of knowingly possessing stolen property. The property in Ramirez’s possession was the television and electric guitar belonging to the church’s pastor.
On July 3, officers arrested Ramirez at a business in Waynesboro after setting up a meeting with him on the pretense to purchase the guitar that Ramirez had posted on Craigslist. Officers located the television after a search warrant was executed at his residence.
Ramirez is free on bond.
The investigation is still open. The Police Department is requesting anyone with information to please contact the investigating officers or call Crime Stoppers.
Previous Release - June 10, 2014
The Waynesboro Police Department is investigating a burglary to a city church that occurred overnight. Sometime between 9:00 PM on June 9 and 7:00 AM today, suspect(s) entered the Waynesboro Free Methodist Church at 600 Hopeman Parkway through a window. Church employees reported that nearly $2,500 worth of property including a television, DVD player and an electric guitar. Also taken was about $10 in cash. The church was not vandalized during the break in.
Anyone with information in this incident is asked to call the Waynesboro Police Department at (540) 942-6675 or Central Shenandoah Crime Stoppers at 1(800)322-2017. Information given to Crime Stoppers may be given anonymously. Callers with information that lead to an arrest in this case are eligible for a cash reward of up to $1000.
Sean Cudahy joined the NBC29 news team as a general assignment reporter in April 2014. Full Story
Sean Cudahy joined the NBC29 news team as a general assignment reporter in April 2014. Sean returns to Charlottesville after four years at American University in Washington, D.C., but central Virginia is his home. He grew up in Albemarle County, graduating from Albemarle High School in 2010. Email/Follow on Twitter/ Full Story
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