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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Church elder charged with pawning hand bells

A 57-year-old Sheboygan First Presbyterian Church elder was charged Thursday after allegedly stealing four cases of hand bells from his church valued at $10,500 and then pawning the items.
David A. Neese, of 2836 S. 14th St., is charged with one count of felony theft and faces up to three years in prison if convicted.
According to a criminal complaint, the four cases of bells — each weighing about 40 pounds — were found missing in April from a locked closet inside the church, located at 1429 N. Fifth St. There was no sign of forced entry into the closet, which was otherwise accessible by key.
Church officials were then contacted in November by a California man who’d purchased two cases of hand bells on eBay and upon delivery found labels attached to the bells baring the church’s name.
The bells were traced back to a Minnesota pawn shop, and Sheboygan police later found another set of bells for sale at an Appleton pawn shop, where staff said Neese had allegedly pawned two sets of hand bells earlier this year.
Neese appeared Thursday via video before Court Commissioner Rebecca Persick, who set bail at $300 cash, which Neese posted. A preliminary hearing was set for Wednesday, Nov. 27.
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