COAL TOWNSHIP -- Police Northumberland County say thousands of dollars worth of tools were stolen from a house that volunteers from a church are remodeling. Church members believe around $4,000 in tools were taken earlier this week from the house near Shamokin.
Volunteers from Restoration Ministries Church in Coal Township are remodeling the house on West Spruce Street to help improve the community and to teach teenagers life skills.
"We have a lot of fatherless kids, and we wanted to try to pass down some carpentry skills that they can use in everyday life," Pastor Paul Eby said.
But earlier this week, volunteers got an unpleasant surprise when they came to work on the house.
"Well my son got here before I did, he called me and I thought it was a joke when he told me all the tools were gone. He said 'no, I'm serious, Dad.' I came in and thought 'oh, my God," John Wallish said.
According to police, thieves stole around $4,000 worth of tools from the house.
"Tool boxes, saws, compressors, framing guns, even our hammers," Eby said.
Church members said the thieves got in through a door. The door was locked, but someone kicked it in.
"Our church doesn't have a lot of rich people in it. We're going to have to replace these because this was going to be our first house, and we are going to go to house to house. When we would buy a tool we would try to buy really good tools," Eby said.
Pastor Paul Eby said he and the other church members all prayed for the thieves. The theft has slowed down the crew's work, but volunteer John Wallish said the thieves won't stop the group's goal to remodel and sell houses.
"We brought some tools from home, the fellow across the street offered us a circular saw. The neighbor next door gave us some hammers. We'll get there," Wallish said.
Police in Coal Township said there have been similar burglaries in the area, and they suspect this one is connected.