Church thieves offered pardon if they meet deadline

May 17, 2017

Somewhere locally are two young men who need to meet with Buffalo Common Council President and True Bethel Baptist Church Bishop Darius Pridgen.

Saturday night, as live church surveillance cameras watched and recorded, the two young men broke a window in the back of the East Ferry Street church and then prowled the facility and took some things Pridgen will not list.

Pridgen said it is a disappointment to have his church burglarized.

"Is it a disappointment when you look and you see young people and you know that you're doing everything in that community, whether it's housing, feeding, clothing? It's disappointing to see it," Pridgen said. "But it's not a hard pill to swallow. I deal with wrongs all the time and trying to make wrongs right."

Credit True Bethel Baptist Church

Pridgen wants the duo to come to him and work something out - if they come forward by late today.  He said he does not want the pair arrested, put into the criminal justice system and see their lives ruined.

"It just felt like the right thing to do and this is not the first time that I've asked people to turn themselves in," Pridgen said. "In the past, I have escorted people into a jail. In this situation, I don't want to escort these two young men into jail. I want to escort them to the back where the window is and give them a broom for them to work off the cost of our window."

Pridgen said he does not know who the men are, but their faces are clearly visible several times on the surveillance cameras. He said coming forward and meeting adult men from the church as mentors would allow them to go forward and lead an admirable life in the future.

If they do not surface, that could change because the police are investigating and have the pictures.

"If the young men do not come to me by then, then hopefully the authorities will make contact with them and that's the last thing I want," he said. "I really want to give these young people a chance and not to see them in the system of justice."