SOUTH FORSYTH — The congregation at Saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene Greek Orthodox Church was eagerly anticipating a new playground set to be installed just in time for Easter festivities.
But a thief had different plans, removing the unassembled equipment from church property prior to services April 6.
“It was heartbreaking that somebody would feel the freedom to come onto church grounds and steal a playground that is obviously for the kids of the parish,” said the Rev. Barnabas Powell, pastor. “Everybody was saddened and shocked and amazed.”
Doug Rainwater, spokesman for the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, said investigators have no leads on the theft.
“It wasn’t assembled yet and that made it very easy to steal because it was just in sections on the ground,” Rainwater said. “At this point, we have no leads because there were no witnesses.”
Powell described the missing playground, which has an estimated value of about $1,200, as a sizeable, high-end swing set made from cedar wood.
In the wake of the loss, however, he noted that the church has received several donations and another family is going to “donate another play set that is about twice the size of the one that was stolen.”
The family’s set will be taken down and moved to the church campus, hopefully in time for Easter.
Powell said the community’s response is what makes the church so fortunate to be located in Forsyth.
“We also had a fence company say they’re going to donate a fence to put around it to make it safe,” he said. “This is the one thing I love about Forsyth County is they don’t let things slide like that. They immediately jumped in and started helping us.”